US Equestrian (USEF) is pleased to announce that an anonymous donor generously stepped up with a $25,000 commitment to the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab, ensuring this mission-critical safety initiative hit the $450,000 goal set to complete the STAR Helmet rating project for equestrian sport.
“Tom O’ Mara, US Equestrian President-Elect, called to let me know the good news! He actually was contacted by a donor following our announcement of reaching the $425,000 milestone in early December thanks to the collaborative efforts of USEF, USEA, USHJA, and Jacqueline Mars,” said Dr. Barry Miller, Director of Outreach and Business Development for the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab. “The donor was impressed with the goals of the initiative and wanted to ensure all equestrians could benefit from a more sophisticated rating system for equestrian helmets. We are off and running and are guaranteed the funds to complete the project on the 18-24 month timeline.”
Since 2011, Virginia Tech researchers have been providing unbiased helmet ratings that allow consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing helmets. The helmet ratings are the culmination of over 10 years of research on head impacts in sports and identify which helmets best reduce concussion risk. So far, the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab has developed STAR helmet ratings for sports including football, youth football, soccer, flag football, cycling, and hockey (www.vt.edu/helmet). An important study published by the Journal of Neurosurgery in 2016 brought to light how the number of equestrian-related traumatic brain injury compares to other sports-related traumatic brain injury (TBI), reinforcing the importance of equestrian helmet safety.
Work has already begun on the rating system, but the fund will remain open for donations. Any additional money raised will go towards accelerating the development timeline. A tax-deductible donation can be made directly to the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab, with 100 percent of all funds going directly to this research. This work is done as part of Virginia Tech’s service mission and is 100 percent independent of any funding or influence from helmet manufacturers.
It’s the turn of the world’s best Eventing athletes to stand under the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games spotlight over the next few days as all but one of the horses presented at this morning’s horse inspection at Baji Koen Equestrian Park were confirmed for action by the Ground Jury.
And they're off! Eventing kicks off today in Tokyo (Thursday, July 29 – 7:30 p.m. ET), with the first of three Olympic dressage sessions. Competitors from 29 nations will go head to head, vying for a spot on the coveted Olympic podium.
There were a few last-minute dramas at the first horse inspection for the Tokyo Olympics which took place in the main equestrian park at Baji Koen Equestrian Centre at 9:30 a.m. JST today.