Vet injured while treating horse backs safety helmet campaign

Vet injured while treating horse backs safety helmet campaign

An equine vet who suffered life changing injuries while treating a horse has backed a campaign to encourage vets, nurses and other handlers to always wear a safety helmet when handling the animals.

Charlie Tomlinson was injured in 2009 when a gelding flung his leg forward, scooped her up and threw her head first into the stable wall.

The incident left her with a diffuse axonal injury, a traumatic brain injury that left her unable to work for six months.

The clinical director of Hale Vets in Wiltshire told Your Horse: “The saving grace was that I didn’t suffer a bleed on the brain. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have survived.

“As well as suffering a brain injury, I damaged my neck and suffered severe headaches and narcolepsy, where I would fall asleep during the day.

“I couldn’t speak properly, I lost my sense of smell and, as a result, taste is still affected. I also suffered memory loss as big sections of my life before the accident have gone and I only realise I no longer remember them when someone brings something up and I have no recollection of it.

“The personality changes have been long-term and life changing. I lost the hearing in my left ear and I still get dizzy spells — these things really affect your life.”

Charlie is now encouraging others to do the same by supporting Vet Partners’ ‘Hat Hair – Don’t Care’ campaign.

VetPartners, which counts Parklands as its first Northern Ireland practice, has partnered with hat manufacturer Charles Owen and provid all of its UK equine practices with hard hats for team members.

“I’m really proud of what VetPartners is doing to care for team members who handle horses, and if this stops another vet from suffering serious head injuries, it will be very successful,” says Charlie.

“I wish I had worn a hat back then, but I was worried people would think I was inexperienced or not capable of doing my job.”

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