Sparking The Conversation


An exciting and incredibly valuable learning opportunity is coming to Spruce Meadows, January 24th.


The National Symposium on Brain Injuries in Equine Sport is the first of it’s kind in Canada and was launched by leading Canadian equine organizations in the western and English worlds. Fuelled by the passion behind therapeutic product innovator, Back On Track, and world-class facility, Spruce Meadows, the consortium includes Equestrian Canada, Spruce Meadows, Back On Track, the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team, the Ty Pozzobon Foundation, the University of Calgary and the Benson Concussion Institute, among others. The aim of the symposium is to increase awareness of brain injuries and mental health in the Canadian equine industry. The symposium features workshop leaders, speakers and panelists that are all recognized experts in the equine world. The one-day event is designed to equip participants with resources they can take back to their respective horse-riding communities and put into daily use.


Dr. Blaine Bugg, far left, and members of the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sport Medicine Team.

Today we sit down with Dr. Blaine Bugg, President of the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team (CPRSMT), to hear his insights about the importance of the symposium. The CPRSMT provides quality on-site sport medicine coverage at Canadian Pro Rodeo Association events throughout the year. The team works to keep contestants competing longer while also being on the front line of head injuries in rodeo. This is an exciting and innovative concept surrounding the conversation on brain injuries in equine sport. Why do you think this symposium needs to happen?

Conversations about these subjects are of absolute paramount importance; society has to become more familiar and comfortable in delving into these discussions. I am ecstatic that these conversations are beginning to happen and culminating into a venue such as this symposium. How we as a society approach concussion, brain injuries and mental health has to improve. Current research and contemporary management needs to be shared across the board to dispel stigmas and incorrect handling of avoidable issues.

How were the speakers chosen?

Criteria included those who are most exposed to the individuals participating in the English and Western Equine disciplines to the best and brightest in the sport medicine and medical fields handling these injuries. Which talks are you personally particularly excited to take part in? I am very excited to participate in the concussion prevention round table conversation. Collaborating with the many disciplines within equine sport has shown us that development and implementation of an effective concussion protocol has its challenges. I believe it is important for everyone to recognize the challenges and barriers and be part of the solution. Who is this event for and who would you like to see there? If you have ever climbed onto a horse for recreational or competitive purposes you should attend. Everyone, literally everyone can benefit from the information that will be presented. From participants, competitors, their family members to organizers and medical personnel. What would you like the over-arching take away to be from the event? Injuries are going to happen, that is the nature of any sport, however our understanding and handling of concussions, head injuries and alterations in mental status has changed significantly … we as a collective have to change how we respond to them. What does the future hold for the symposium? The symposium has already bridged the gap between the Western and English disciplines by tackling the subject matter at hand. To quote Gil Penchina, “Momentum begets momentum, and the best way to start is to start,” and the conversations about concussions and head injuries needs to happen and only good will come out of getting the conversations started.


To see a full line up of speakers, as well as to purchase tickets for the National Symposium on Brain Injuries in Equine Sport visit their website at: https://braininjuryequinesport.com. Limited tickets are available and the date is fast approaching - to ensure a seat at this very important table, purchase your tickets as soon as possible.

#BackOnTrack #BackOnTrackCanada #BrainInjury #Sport #Competition

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Louisa Murch White

Creative Director

Western Twist Media