Jul 01, 2014

Amy Barrington Continues to Recover After Traumatic Brain Injury Sustained Last Fall

By Caroline Culbertson - USEA Staff
Barrington smiles during her first time back on a horse with the Therapeutic Riding of Tryon. Photo courtesy of Greg Schlappi.

Event rider and trainer Amy Barrington of Tryon, N.C., has made huge strides in her recovery after sustaining a traumatic brain injury less than a year ago.

Barrington, 52, was hospitalized following a fall from a horse while schooling at home on September 4, 2013. She was wearing a helmet at the time of the fall, but sustained severe bruising and a hematoma on her brain which required surgery. She was placed in a medically-induced coma to help her brain to heal until September 16, 2013.

Now, ten months later, she continues to recover but has resumed many of her normal day-to-day tasks.

“She is doing really well,” reported husband and course designer, Greg Schlappi. “There are still a few things that she is working through. In the first few months, she had a miraculous recovery and things were coming back really fast.

“Now there are a few things lingering. She still has some speech and vision problems but they are improving. We are just impatient.”

Doctors recommended that she wait at least a year from the date of the accident before getting back to riding, although she has been back in the saddle on therapy horses in a highly controlled setting. In the barn, she feeds and cleans like she always has and is also getting back to her students.

“She is teaching a few lessons and everyone that is doing lessons with her says she is spot on and that horse-related words come easily to her,” said Schlappi. “Sometimes other things are difficult for her, to find the words. She knows what she wants to say, but when she can’t find the words, she smiles and laughs and tries not to get frustrated.

“Our son Ben and I are so thrilled to have her home and she is happy and we’re just enjoying having her with us. She enjoys having people around her and she is grinning all the time and having fun.”

Eventers declared themselves part of “Amy’s Tribe” and rallied around Barrington following the accident, holding a multitude of fundraisers and raising tens of thousands of dollars in her name.

“The eventing community is absolutely amazing,” he said. “They literally saved us from bankruptcy. We had no idea we had so many friends through the eventing community.”

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