Russian Equestrian Hospitalized After Riding Accident

inessa merkulova

Inessa Merkulova is in a medically induced coma following an accident that took place in Germany. 

Inessa Merkulva has had a successful 20 year career as a Grand Prix dressage rider representing her country, Russia. She has competed in 5 World Equestrian Games, 5 Dressage World Cups and 3 European Dressage Championships. She was chosen as fan favorite at Rio after sharing her pre-competition prep which consists of reading her horse, Mister X, Fifty shades Of Grey. Mister X and Merkulva were awarded best pair at the Equestrian Federation of Russia Awards in 2018.

Most recently, she qualified to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. This was the first time since 1992 Barcelona Olympics that Russia had a qualifying team. Additionally, they were the only Russian team for all 3 of the equestrian disciplines to qualify at the 2020 Olympics.

In January of 2020, the 55 year old fell off her horse at her facility in Germany. She spent 4 weeks in an induced-coma. Although she did not have any head trauma, she severely injured her chest. She had several fractures and a bilateral pneumothorax. She was not permitted to move and therefore doctors put her into an artificial coma.

By March, she was sent to a rehabilitation center in Hamburg. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, she was able to return to Germany and further her recovery. As of April, Innessa has not been able to return to the saddle, but is walking and going on short runs to help her regain her strength.

Fast forward to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics where Inessa was able to compete for the Russian Dressage team. She went on to place 31st individually and placed 12th in the team competition. A truly remarkable recovery from Inessa.

The Importance Of Core Protection

Just like Inessa Merkulova, many have faced serious injuries to their neck, spine, chest, ribs, tailbone and even inner organs. Many of these unfortunate accidents have resulted in death and permanent disability.

It shines light on the importance of protecting your core. In disciplines like eventing and cross-country, rigid protectors are often mandatory. However, they don’t offer optimal protection of vital areas. Recent technological advancements have brought personal airbag systems for equestrians. Many riders, even in dressage, are opting for these air vests.

Not only do they protect you from neck to tailbone, they lesson the impact and prevent whiplash. Many of them are meant to be worn in addition to a rigid protector and of course, a helmet. Although these air vests are an investment with prices ranging from several hundred to a thousand, they are crucial for protection. Whether you are a recreational rider, training or in competition, maintaining safety is of the upmost importance.

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