Equestrian Canada’s concussion-related Accidents & Return-to-Play rules came into effect January 1, 2017, for all EC-sanctioned competitions in Canada. The Concussion Protocol, which can be found under Safety and Welfare in EC’s General Regulations, states that “in the event of a fall/accident where a concussion can be reasonably suspected (not limited to a direct blow to the head or loss of consciousness), the competitor must receive medical clearance by qualified medical personnel onsite, through the EC Accident Injury Report Form, before continuing.” The competitor is solely responsible for ensuring the onsite medical assessment takes place. If the competitor refuses to be evaluated, he/she is disqualified from the event.
Any competitor suspended from competing further at the event, based on the medical personnel suspecting a concussion, will be placed on a medical suspension list which is managed by EC until medically released by a licensed physician, and they must provide a copy of EC’s Return to Play form to the show secretary.
Along with EC’s Accident & Return to Play policy, and as a commitment to athlete welfare and safety, the recommended level of certification for onsite EC competition medical personnel is first responder. For 2019, the reporting process for all accidents and injuries must be done within 24 hours of the incident.
Also as of 2019, all competitions must also have a qualified veterinarian present or on call for the duration of the time that competition horses are on site. The veterinarian must be licensed in the jurisdiction of the competition and affiliated with an accredited practice. In the case of a fall of an athlete and/or a horse at any time in the competition or practice arena, or elsewhere within the grounds of the event, they both must be cleared by the event’s medical service or veterinary delegate before being permitted to take part in the next round or competition at the event.
If you compete in the jumper ring, the following new rules are in effect:
• In the event of a fall of an athlete and/or horse at any time from the moment the combination enters the arena until the moment they cross the starting line in the correct direction, whether or not the signal to start has been given, the combination will not be permitted to start in the round.
• In the event of a fall after the finish line, the following applies: 1) in a competition with an immediate jump-off, the athlete/horse combination may not continue to the jump-off and will be placed according to their score in the initial round. The athlete and/or the horse must be cleared by the event’s medical service/veterinary delegate before they can be permitted to take part in any further competitions at the event; 2) in a competition where the jump-off is not immediate, or after crossing the finish line of the first round of a two-round competition, the athlete and/or the horse must be cleared by the event’s medical service/veterinary delegate before being permitted to take part in the jump-off or the second round; 3) if the fall occurs after crossing the finish line in a jump-off, or in the initial round if they did not qualify for the jump-off, or in a class with no jump-off, the athlete and/or the horse must be cleared by the event’s medical/veterinary personnel before taking part in any further competition at the event