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View Full Version : Debbie McDonald Has Serious Fall



Mike Matson
Feb. 2, 2011, 04:01 PM
Janet Foy just reported this on her FaceBook page:

Debbie McDonald just told me she escaped with only a concussion, facial lacerations and severe whiplash after being thrown 30 feet in the air straight into the ground.

Jacobi
Feb. 2, 2011, 04:04 PM
Ouch. Lets hope she makes a complete recovery.

Velvet
Feb. 2, 2011, 04:11 PM
Thirty feet sailing through the air? Was that really from a horse? That's one heck of a launch! :eek:

Ouch. Hope she's better soon.

SGray
Feb. 2, 2011, 04:14 PM
jingles for DMac

Bravestrom
Feb. 2, 2011, 04:23 PM
sounds like she was wearing a helmet - good thing - jingles for a speedy recovery.

dwblover
Feb. 2, 2011, 06:16 PM
Thank goodness she is alright!

Bogey2
Feb. 2, 2011, 06:41 PM
Oh my, that is quite a launch! I hope she recovers quickly!

Tanyanoel
Feb. 2, 2011, 06:47 PM
Was her facebook post perhaps about an old fall that happened while Debbie was wearing a helmet in a string of posts about how helmets are important or did she really JUST fall?

Edited to add: Found the news story a few posts down about her fall, it did indeed just happen. Hope she recovers quickly and so glad that she will be ok.

Perfect Pony
Feb. 2, 2011, 06:48 PM
Wow, you mean this week Debbie McDonald and I have something in common? Glad she was wearing a helmet, and glad I escaped a trip to the hospital because of mine.

Tanyanoel
Feb. 2, 2011, 06:54 PM
http://www.dressage-news.com/?p=9828

EasyStreet
Feb. 2, 2011, 07:05 PM
Hmmm...You would think Janet Foy would be "in the loop" enough to know if it was a recent injury!! I'll have to go check DM's FB page to see whats up!!

Tamara in TN
Feb. 2, 2011, 07:10 PM
Thirty feet sailing through the air? Was that really from a horse? That's one heck of a launch! :eek:
Ouch. Hope she's better soon.


one really really irritated large WB ? :)

Tamara in TN

EasyStreet
Feb. 2, 2011, 07:16 PM
Hmm on Jan. 28th Debbie posted,...."Sorry folks, I'm leaving FB. It's been fun!" There are posts by others with no responce from Debbie after that ans a couple within the last hour wishing her well from the fall/injury. I do hope she is OK and I posted that everyone on the COTH is concerned for her!

Velvet
Feb. 2, 2011, 07:36 PM
I'm with her on leaving Facebook. Useless time sucker/black hole.

Dogsandponies
Feb. 2, 2011, 07:46 PM
My trainer was told by a recipient of Debbie's email that Debbie landed on her head and cracked the helmet.

I keep reading these protests about the USDF's new rule requiring helmets and wonder if the authors will still be whining that it's an adult's choice. It's just a helmet, not a chastity belt.

Velvet
Feb. 2, 2011, 07:51 PM
My trainer was told by a recipient of Debbie's email that Debbie landed on her head and cracked the helmet.

I keep reading these protests about the USDF's new rule requiring helmets and wonder if the authors will still be whining that it's an adult's choice. It's just a helmet, not a chastity belt.

Yeah, well, USEF (it's the USEF that writes the rules, not USDF) does not have any authority at a private training facility, so people will still ride w/o helmets at home or in state parks, etc. She just happens to be smart enough to wear a helmet when riding (or at least was this time--hopefully she does it all the time).

BTW, the helmet debate does have it's own thread already. I'm not so sure it really belongs on this one.

Equibrit
Feb. 2, 2011, 08:23 PM
from dressage-news

"The accident to Debbie occurred less than a month before safety helmets become mandatory at national level dressage classes in the United States as well as for junior and young horse classes and seniors who compete in both national and FEI levels at the same competition."

englslady
Feb. 2, 2011, 08:39 PM
You can read the full details of Debbie McDonalds accident at: http://www.riders4helmets.com/?p=2116

Follow riders4helmets on Facebook: http://www.riders4helmets.com

Velvet
Feb. 2, 2011, 09:15 PM
from dressage-news

"The accident to Debbie occurred less than a month before safety helmets become mandatory at national level dressage classes in the United States as well as for junior and young horse classes and seniors who compete in both national and FEI levels at the same competition."

That is, once again, poor journalism. This NOTHING to do with the USEF rule--unless she was launched at a horse show. I gathered it wasn't at a show. Do I have that wrong?

Equibrit
Feb. 2, 2011, 09:23 PM
I'm at a loss as to why that is poor journalism. All that was written was true. The only thing the writer was after was a timeline, and establish that wearing a helmet was important enough to make the rule. You either have a vivid imagination, cannot read AND understand what you're reading, or you've lost the plot !

Velvet
Feb. 2, 2011, 09:40 PM
No, the two things are unrelated. The USEF helmet rule for HORSE SHOWS is one topic. The accident that Debbie had NOT AT A HORSE SHOW is a completely different topic. The two are not related.

Not missing the point. The journalist was attempting to put the two together to help push the popular helmet agenda.

Mary in Area 1
Feb. 3, 2011, 12:39 AM
Yes, but if you read the Dressage Daily article about the fall, you will see that Debbie herself has made the two related. She has stated that Courtney's fall has saved her life, and that she will no longer teach anyone who is not wearing a helmet.

suzy
Feb. 3, 2011, 08:17 AM
I'm just very relieved to hear that her prognosis is good! I'm sure she's in a lot of discomfort, but otherwise it sounds as though she will recover fully. And, good for her for not being willing to teach people who aren't wearing a helmet.

BaroquePony
Feb. 3, 2011, 08:20 AM
Glad she is going to be ok.

I didn't know/think it was possible for any horse to launch any rider 30' in the air unless the horse/rider were jumping :confused:

Carol O
Feb. 3, 2011, 08:31 AM
Jingles, Debbie!

monstrpony
Feb. 3, 2011, 08:50 AM
Glad Debbie is okay, glad she was wearing a helmet. And very pleased that the "it was just a fluke, it won't happen to me" crowd just got hammered by good old statistics (again).

wildlifer
Feb. 3, 2011, 08:51 AM
ROFL at "popular helmet agenda." Best wishes for fast healing for Debbie and so glad we didn't lose her talents to a baseball cap!!

SmartAlex
Feb. 3, 2011, 08:55 AM
I didn't know/think it was possible for any horse to launch any rider 30' in the air unless the horse/rider were jumping :confused:

I read it as 30' forward.

Horse.......................> X landing spot
............30 feet.........

That's a lot more dramatic than:
Horse..X
But at least keeps horse from stepping on you!

CFFarm
Feb. 3, 2011, 09:52 AM
I read it as 30' forward.

Horse.......................> X landing spot
............30 feet.........

That's a lot more dramatic than:
Horse..X
But at least keeps horse from stepping on you!

Yeah, and remember, Debbie only weighs about 90lbs. I've been launched off a horse in the same "bronco mode" a good 15-20 feet and I weigh a heck of a lot more than she does!

mbm
Feb. 3, 2011, 11:15 AM
30' sounds a bit ..... well..... much.

where are the science type folks who can calculate the force needed to propel a rider of 90lbs 30 feet?

well wishes to Debbie.

CFFarm
Feb. 3, 2011, 11:50 AM
30' sounds a bit ..... well..... much.

where are the science type folks who can calculate the force needed to propel a rider of 90lbs 30 feet?

well wishes to Debbie.

Of course most dressage riders are A types and a scientific discussion could be fun but the point is it probably felt like at least 30 feet. Helmets every ride!

Gestalt
Feb. 3, 2011, 11:56 AM
Wasn't there, didn't see it, but I have seen riders tossed at rodeos. If the horse or bull is moving forward and bucking, you will fly quite a way before "touching" down.

Best wishes to Debbie, bet she hurts all over!

BaroquePony
Feb. 3, 2011, 11:59 AM
Of course if she was on a Warmblood genetically engineered by Wernher von Braun, .... :lol:

mp
Feb. 3, 2011, 12:00 PM
It's just a helmet, not a chastity belt.

:lol: Good one.

Velvet
Feb. 3, 2011, 12:00 PM
Of course if she was on a WarmBlood genetically engineered by Wernher von Braun, .... :lol:

She would have at least made low earth orbit...at best, she could have made a visit to my acre. :lol:

Equibrit
Feb. 3, 2011, 12:45 PM
No, the two things are unrelated. The USEF helmet rule for HORSE SHOWS is one topic. The accident that Debbie had NOT AT A HORSE SHOW is a completely different topic. The two are not related.

Not missing the point. The journalist was attempting to put the two together to help push the popular helmet agenda.


Maybe you could explain to Debbie that she needs to divide what she says into topics.

The full article;

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Debbie McDonald, Olympic and World Equestrian Games medalist and World Cup champion, was thrown from a horse in Southern California Tuesday, and said that wearing a safety helmet helped her escape severe brain injury.
“I told Courtney (King Dye) that she saved my life, Debbie, aged 56, told dressage-news.com. “Ever since Courtney’s accident I have been wearing a helmet.
“I think I dodged a big one.”
She said that on her way to the hospital after the accident on a young and big 17-hand horse in Thousand Oaks, California, she was thinking of her team mates, Courtney and Guenter Seidel who lives in Cardiff, California, and also suffered a horse accident last summer.
Debbie first reported her accident in an email to dressage riders saying: “Wanted to let you all know that I escaped a severe brain injury yesterday by wearing a helmet. I was launched over 30 feet (10m) straight into ground. Escaped with a concussion, facial lacerations and severe whip lash. Please everyone wear your helmets!”
Courtney King-Dye, who was on the 2008 Olympic team with Debbie and Steffen Peters, was seriously injured in a horse accident in Florida almost a year ago.
Gunter Seidel, a three-time Olympian for the United States, was injured in a horse accident in Germany last summer and fractured his pelvis.
The accident to Debbie occurred less than a month before safety helmets become mandatory at national level dressage classes in the United States as well as for junior and young horse classes and seniors who compete in both national and FEI levels at the same competition.
“I feel like I’ve been run over by a Mack truck,” Debbie said of the accident that left her with lacerations on the left side of face that “looks like I was dragged along the asphalt” and a black eye. She suffered severe whiplash and a concussion.
She said that she was riding the horse belonging to a client when it started to go into bronco bucking mode, throwing its head and stretching down between its legs.
“I realized that at some point I was going to come off,” she said.
“I went head first into the footing,” Debbie said. “The helmet showed that the footing went up to the base of the helmet.
“It was like a Christopher Reeves’ fall, with my hands out behind me,” referring to the actor who suffered a riding accident in 1995 that left him a quadraplegic. He died in in 2004.
She was knocked unconscious.
Debbie said the ambulance arrived quickly and took her to Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks.
Debbie said she was concerned about her neck, but that a CAT scan found no trace of bleeding from the brain.
“I feel very, very, very lucky,” said Debbie who became America’s most beloved dressage rider when she rode the mare Brentina, owned by Peggy and Parry Thomas, to team silver at the World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain in 2002, team bronze at the WEG in Aachen, Germany, in 2006, team bronze at the 2004 Athens Olympics and World Cup champion in 2003, the first American ever to do so.
“I was thinking on the way to the hospital of Courtney and Guenter.
“This has totally convinced me. From now on I won’t teach any one unless they’re wearing a helmet.”

WBLover
Feb. 3, 2011, 01:37 PM
Yeah, and remember, Debbie only weighs about 90lbs. I've been launched off a horse in the same "bronco mode" a good 15-20 feet and I weigh a heck of a lot more than she does!

Me too! My bucking bronco launched me into the air at LEAST 10' UP out of the saddle, maybe it was more, maybe it was less. But I weigh 200lbs and I'm sure it would have been a lot more if I weighed as little as Debbie M.!! Yes, I was wearing a helmet and yes, I may be dead right now if I wasn't. I was riding on HARD turf (grass) and let me tell you it is harder than sand--a lot harder. Broke my wrist in 3 places, and had a mild concussion WITH the helmet on. First the horse hit me in the head with his neck during the bronc, which knocked me out, then I hit my head on the ground when I landed, and crushed my wrist under my body. It was NOT pretty....these big athletic WB's can do a LOAD of damage to a person. I won't let anyone tell me that my 200lbs is too much weight for a 1300lb horse, it felt like I was nothing more than a fly on his back at that moment!!

dotneko
Feb. 3, 2011, 01:38 PM
Well, if she was on an 18 hand horse,
her head started about 9 feet off the
ground. 30 feet up was probably a bit
over estimated, but really, does it make
a difference if it was 20 feet or 30?
Don't think anyone had a tape measure on it at
the time.
Glad she was riding with a helmet.

SmartAlex
Feb. 3, 2011, 01:49 PM
First the horse hit me in the head with his neck during the bronc, which knocked me out, then I hit my head on the ground when I landed...


Oh I hate the neck knock out. You know you're in trouble when you keep your seat and they still give you whiplash. I think there have been times when I could have reached earth orbit but silly me hung on too long taking precious yards out of my optimum trajectory. If you just let go and aim for the horizon you have much less chance of being trampled.

Velvet
Feb. 3, 2011, 02:44 PM
If you do that, you just might fly. You know, a la "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" where is states, "There is an art, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. Clearly, it is this second part, the missing, which presents the difficulties."

DownYonder
Feb. 3, 2011, 03:20 PM
30' sounds a bit ..... well..... much.

where are the science type folks who can calculate the force needed to propel a rider of 90lbs 30 feet?



Hmm, going WAY back to my Physics classes: Force = Mass times Acceleration. But I think this question relates to Projectile Motion, which is too complicated for my feeble brain. :lol:

Kudos to Debbie for wearing a helmet, and many jingles for her quick recovery.

Equibrit
Feb. 3, 2011, 04:12 PM
Newton's laws of motion;

First law: Every body (Debbie) remains in a state of rest or uniform motion (constant velocity) unless it is acted upon by an external unbalanced force (big f--ing warmblood). This means that in the absence of a non-zero net force (BFW), the center of mass of a body (Debbie) either remains at rest, or moves at a constant speed in a straight line.
Second law: A body of mass m (Debbie) subject to a net force F (BFW) undergoes an acceleration a that has the same direction as the force and a magnitude that is directly proportional to the force and inversely proportional to the mass, i.e., F = ma. Alternatively, the total force applied on a body is equal to the time derivative of linear momentum of the body.
Third law: The mutual forces of action and reaction between two bodies are equal, opposite and collinear. This means that whenever a first body exerts a force F on a second body, the second body exerts a force −F on the first body. F and −F are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction. This law is sometimes referred to as the action-reaction law, with F called the "action" and −F the "reaction". The action and the reaction are simultaneous.So ..........In this case BFW = Debbie x a, which results in BFW-DEBBIE equal in magnitude and opposite in direction !

mbm
Feb. 3, 2011, 04:32 PM
not to laugh at Debbie's expense because i am not, but i love the post above using debbie and BFW as part of the equation :)

i read recently that the higher you are off the ground then harder you will hit when you land. (that is probably in the equation above?)

this knowledge was one of the things that made me happy to of gotten a pony for my next mount! it wont hurt as bad when i hit!

ToN Farm
Feb. 3, 2011, 05:16 PM
Unless I'm reading incorrectly, she wasn't launched 30 feet UP. If the horse was bucking, the buck sent her 30 feet forward. I know, not really important, but just a thought. She's a lightweight lady. I could see where a big strong horse could catapult her pretty darn far.

princessfluffybritches
Feb. 3, 2011, 07:22 PM
If you throw a 90 pound object and it lands 30 feet away, how fast was the object going when it hit the ground?

BaroquePony
Feb. 3, 2011, 07:39 PM
I bought a pony so I could avoid this very *the agony of defeat* sort of thing :yes: of course, that was in Theory :lol:

WBLover
Feb. 4, 2011, 09:42 AM
Oh I hate the neck knock out. You know you're in trouble when you keep your seat and they still give you whiplash. I think there have been times when I could have reached earth orbit but silly me hung on too long taking precious yards out of my optimum trajectory. If you just let go and aim for the horizon you have much less chance of being trampled.

Yeah, that's the thing. There was no way I was going to stay on, but if he hadn't knocked me unconscious, I could have planned my landing better! I really got very good at the drop and roll thing after his bronc fits, and usually could save my body SOME damage with the right technique. But when you are knocked out cold, you land how you land, and my wrist took the brunt of it! That horse is gone now, he's with an upper level rider who is doing FANTASTIC with him, we were just not a good match.

Velvet
Feb. 4, 2011, 10:14 AM
I found this handy information on a site about the trajectory of objects. :D (Now we just need to know her initial speed to guesstimate. NOT picking on Debbie, I just think this is intriguing. :yes: My old physics professor would be loving this problem.)

Projectiles travel with a parabolic trajectory because the force of gravity accelerates them downward from their otherwise straight-line, gravity-free trajectory. Neglecting air resistance, a projectile would maintain a constant horizontal velocity since there are no other horizontal forces acting on it. At the same time the downward force and acceleration results in a downward displacement from the position that the object would be if there were no gravity.

In other words, projectile motion has two components: horizontal and vertical, causing the trajectory of the projectile to curve. In the horizontal component, velocity is constant so it continues straight forward covering equal distances in equal times. At the same time, it is accelerating downward because of gravity, traveling larger downward distances in each successive time interval. These two simultaneous components create a curved path.

Determine the horizontal and vertical components of the initial velocity.

http://www.physics247.com/physics-homework-help/projectilemotion1.jpg
For an object projected horizontally, the vertical component of initial velocity is zero.

For an object thrown at 20 m/s 53º above the horizontal, the vertical component of the initial velocity is 20sin53º = 16.0 m/s [up], and the horizontal component is 20cos53º = 12.0 m/s.

2. break down the problem into two problems: horizontal and vertical.
3. assign - and + signs appropriately

Remember:
1. acceleration is zero in the horizontal component and g in the vertical.
2. at the top of its rise, the projectile has a vertical velocity = zero.

BaroquePony
Feb. 4, 2011, 10:27 AM
Remember:
1. acceleration is zero in the horizontal component and g in the vertical.
2. at the top of its rise, the projectile has a vertical velocity = zero.

Something that riders have in common with astronauts :yes: Zero Gravity :yes: of course riders are quickly brought back down to earth with that resounding *thud* :lol:

I HATE getting bucked off :mad:

Perfect Pony
Feb. 4, 2011, 10:46 AM
i read recently that the higher you are off the ground then harder you will hit when you land. (that is probably in the equation above?)

this knowledge was one of the things that made me happy to of gotten a pony for my next mount! it wont hurt as bad when i hit!

Yeah, well, um...let me know how that works out for you. What I forgot to take into account in the equation is just how much higher and more forceful the pony would be able to launch one off of the saddle. I am pretty certain I almost hit the rafters in the covered arena.

Velvet
Feb. 4, 2011, 10:53 AM
Something that riders have in common with astronauts :yes: Zero Gravity :yes: of course riders are quickly brought back down to earth with that resounding *thud* :lol:

I HATE getting bucked off :mad:

I actually think that that feeling and the moment of a tiny bit of "flight" is why I used to LOVE jumping. Now I found I can still have that feeling over a much smaller fence and I'm content. ;)

I know none of us are taking away from Debbie's accident, it's just that since she's actually okay, it's kind of fun to talk about the thing nearly all of us have experienced--being launched.

I had a small horse launch me not that long ago and I actually remember the moment of being airborn. Sometimes you only remember the end of that trajectory and the ground coming up to meet you all too quickly. :lol: It is funny that sometimes the smaller they are, the higher they toss you!

netg
Feb. 4, 2011, 11:06 AM
Sometimes you only remember the end of that trajectory and the ground coming up to meet you all too quickly. :lol: It is funny that sometimes the smaller they are, the higher they toss you!


And that's the key, as your research showed - the higher you go, the faster your downward velocity when you land. OUCH!

Of course, if you're going 30' forward, there had to have been upward but also a lot of forward velocity - in which case, watch out for skidding and road rash! Double OUCH!


(I'm just glad Debbie's ok!)

Perfect Pony
Feb. 4, 2011, 11:29 AM
I know none of us are taking away from Debbie's accident, it's just that since she's actually okay, it's kind of fun to talk about the thing nearly all of us have experienced--being launched.

I had a small horse launch me not that long ago and I actually remember the moment of being airborn. Sometimes you only remember the end of that trajectory and the ground coming up to meet you all too quickly. :lol: It is funny that sometimes the smaller they are, the higher they toss you!

Well my pony is 14.1, and she did launch me so high I remember every single moment of it. I remember in slo-mo being on her, at about buck #4 or 5 as she launched herself into the air with all 4 feet off the ground, twisting and turning in the air. At about that point I thought, "oh $#!^ she is NOT going to stop" and there's not a damn thing I can do about, time for my dismount. Finally airborne, I evaluated my options (you can do that from 50' in the air) and decided on the tuck, drop and roll technique. Unfortunately the impact only allowed for "drop" flat on my back, with the soon after "back of head hitting the ground".

In typical pony fashion, she immediately stopped her bucking and stood in the middle of the arena with a confused look on her face as to exactly why mommy was lying on the ground. None of the stupid "running around like an idiot" like a horse would...

jumpytoo
Feb. 4, 2011, 01:21 PM
Wonder if she is having any hunter ridig flashbacks..back in te day her hunter was VERY athletic and would occasionally launch her.

Glad she is OK

TheHorseProblem
Feb. 4, 2011, 01:25 PM
Wonder if she is having any hunter ridig flashbacks..back in te day her hunter was VERY athletic and would occasionally launch her.

Glad she is OK

That' why she switched to dressage. It's much safer--if you are wearing a helmet.:)