Canadian Olympian in equestrian fall leaves hospital
Inflatable safety vest likely saved B.C. rider from more severe injury
Canadian Olympic rider Hawley Bennett-Awad, who was injured Monday after being thrown from her horse during an equestrian competition in London, was released from hospital today, CBC News has learned.
The 35-year-old from Murrayville, B.C., was discharged from the Royal London Hospital on Wednesday after being treated for a broken sacrum, a bone at the base of the spine.
Tests showed Bennett-Awad also suffered a concussion after falling off her horse, Gin and Juice, said Kerri McGregor, leader of the Canadian equestrian team at the Games.
"When she was thrown, [doctors] weren't quite sure. They always want to be quite careful until you have a chance to assess the injury, and that's why they wanted to move her as carefully as possible to the hospital," McGregor told CBC's Heather Hiscox in London on Wednesday.
"And once we had a chance to do an assessment, she did have a concussion, which she is recovering from quite nicely."
Air vest inflated before impact
McGregor credited an inflatable safety vest attached to the rider's saddle with preventing a more severe injury.
The air vest triggers when a rider is thrown from his or her mount, and operates much like a car air bag. It is a standard precaution for all competing riders.
McGregor said the Olympian was kept longer for treatment due to discomfort with her tailbone, but added that the competitor has already showed she wants to get back on her horse.
"I"m sure she'll be back in the saddle as soon as she can, because she's a real trooper and has a very, very tough fighting spirit," McGregor said. "So she'll be eager to get back in the saddle as soon as she gets the go-ahead."
Bennett-Awad fell off Gin and Juice — named after a Snoop Dogg song — at the third of 28 fences during the cross-country portion of the three-discipline eventing competition on Monday.
She was among several other riders who fell from their mounts during the 5.7-kilometre course up and down the hills of Greenwich Park.
Before the Olympics began, Bennett-Awad told the Vancouver Sun that her horse had a history of bucking and had sent her to hospital three times.