A lucky escape for Connie O’Donnell

As horse riders, we all know that our chosen sport presents many risks. It’s therefore crucial that we wear the right equipment to help protect us should the worst happen.

We recently received the below email from Connie O’Donnell who had a bad fall from her horse, but Connie was fortunately wearing a Champion Ventair Helmet


To whom it may concern,

I am essentially writing to thank you at Champion for such wonderful safety products, especially, as is the case here, the riding hats.

I am 19 years old and in my first year at University, recently having made it onto the riding A team at University. As is the way with riding new and strange horses, I fell off, but unlike the multiple falls I’ve had before this time it was serious. I fell directly onto my head, causing spinal trauma to both the left and right sides of my neck, and fracturing my left wrist.

This is where my Champion Ventair skull came into play. At first when I was being loaded into the ambulance to be rushed to hospital, fully kitted out with a head brace, respirator and morphine catheter, the paramedics were sure that I had fractured both my C3 and C4 vertebrae, as the impact was heavy and from a height. I underwent multiple X-rays and CT scans, only to find out several hours later that in fact it was my hat that had taken nearly all of the impact stress, and the vertebrae themselves were left unharmed.

I was extremely lucky, thank in no small part to the quality of my Champion hat, so I felt it necessary to commend Champion, not only for saving me from cutting my early University career short with a broken neck, but also saving me from cutting my life short. I have since bought a brand new Champion Ventair to replace my old one, and we’ve bought my Mum one too to replace her current hat that she is yet to fall off in, just to be on the safe side.

The Champion Ventair hat is in an affordable price range, and quite clearly up to standard in terms of safety, and for that I am eternally grateful. It was partly luck that saved my life, but mostly a brilliant hat.

Thanks again,
Connie O’Donnell


Connie kindly sent us in some photos of her hat, which was “still apparently completely fine despite its rather hefty meeting with the floor”! This really does help show that even though your hat might look absolutely fine on the outside, if it has suffered a severe impact you should throw it away and replace it as Connie did, even if there is no outward sign of damage.  After all, it’s easy to replace your hat…

We’re so delighted to see Connie back in the saddle just a few weeks after the accident in her new Champion Ventair on 17.2hh eventer Bouncer and wish them the best of luck for the season ahead.

Connie on Bouncer

Damaged helmet

Damaged helmet