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Rider Falls At The Long Island Hampton Classic, Suffers Spinal Injury

When someone mentions sports and traumatic brain injuries, thoughts almost immediately turn to contact sports like football and hockey. After all, these sports, along with boxing, get a lot of attention due to the concussions sustained by players. However, a study released by the journal Neurological Focus found that the sport that causes the most traumatic brain injuries. Researchers found that between 2003 and 2012, equestrian sports contributed to the highest percentage of traumatic brain injuries among adults. In the National Trauma Databank, 45.2% of traumatic brain injuries among adults were related to horseback riding.

Newsday reports that a rider who fell at the Long Island Hampton Classic suffered from a spinal injury.

51-year-old Kevin Babington, an accomplished rider, fell while competing in the Hampton Classic Horse Show on August 30th. He was riding his horse, Shorapur, during the Grand Prix qualifying event.

The fall severely injured Babington’s spinal cord, but luckily, it was not severed. On Tuesday, September 3rd, Babington underwent a five-hour surgery at NYU Lagone Medical Center to stabilize his cervical vertebrae. His cervical collar has been removed, but he is still on a ventilator and is unable to speak.

It is still too soon to know if he suffered from permanent paralysis. Babington’s wife, Dianna, is hoping that the swelling in his spinal cord and soft tissue will subside.

Babington was born and raised in Ireland. He began riding at age 11 and trained at an elite riding academy. He came to the United States in 1987 to work as a riding instructor at a Vermont summer camp.

He competed in the 2004 Athens Olympics, placing fourth. In June, he rode Shorapur to victory at the Lake Placid Horse Shows.

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