Dancer Acknowledged For First U.S. Helmet Standards


Assemblyman Ron Dancer has partnered with the Rutgers Equine Science Center to promote the center’s first New Jersey Equestrian Safety Week.

“I’m eager to lend whatever assistance I can to help the center promote equestrian safety,” Dancer (R-Ocean) said. “Safety is important in any sport, but in the case of equestrian events, both the equestrian and the horse must be well-protected and injuries to either can be serious and devastating.”

Equestrian safety is a longtime commitment for Dancer and one that resulted in revolutionary change in an essential safety device. Dancer served as the chairman of the United States Trotting Association’s racing helmet safety research and development committee, whose work led to the first safety standards for drivers’ helmets.

Before these standards were created, horse racing helmets were merely plastic caps with no penetration standards and no shock absorption liners. They were secured with only elastic chin straps, which have been replaced with a three-point safety retention system.

“Assemblyman Dancer’s lifelong commitment to the safety and well-being of horses and equestrians makes him the perfect partner to work with to bring awareness to this campaign,” said Equine Science Center Director, Dr. Karyn Malinowski. “While he might be humble about how much work went into it, his work to ensure the safety of horseracing drivers is something that should be highlighted and commended.”

The week will be observed Sunday, June 5 to Saturday, June 11. It is intended to bring attention to the need for riders and drivers to update their safety equipment periodically or after an impact, and how they may be able to obtain discounts for new equipment. Tack shops throughout New Jersey will also be involved in the initiative.

Equestrian sports are among the most dangerous in the United States because injuries are more likely to be severe and require hospitalization than injuries resulting from other sports, and traumatic brain injuries are one of the most common injuries reported among injured riders.


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