Using a cross-sectional survey design, this study sought to determine usage rates and barriers to the use of protective equipment in roughstock athletes. Between 2004 and 2006, amateur, collegiate, and professional roughstock athletes were surveyed using national organizational mailing lists. Findings revealed that during competition, 69% never wore a helmet. Barriers were a negative effect on performance and sport persona. Conversely, 88% always wore a vest. The perception that vest usage was required encouraged roughstock athletes to wear them. Mouthpiece use results were mixed; 58% always used and 21% never used a mouthpiece. Barriers were discomfort and frequent forgetfulness. Reported injury rate was high, with users noting fewer injuries to head and ribs than nonusers, and riders agreed that protective equipment prevented injury to the head, ribs, and mouth. However, equipment usage rates varied widely by type and seemed to be underutilized because the equipment affected performance, was uncomfortable, and "not cowboy."
1Geisinger Health System Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship, Temple University School of Medicine, Wilkes-Barre, PA; 2University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR; 3Penn State University, Penn State Orthopaedics, University Park, PA; 4Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship, Greenville Hospital System/University of South Carolina Program, SC
Address for correspondence: David S. Ross, M.D., FACP, Director, Geisinger Health System Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship, Associate Professor, Temple University School of Medicine, MC 37-51, 1000 East Mountain Blvd., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18612 (E-mail: Dsross1@geisinger.edu).