The dramatic fall of Carl-Eugen Oettingen-Wallerstein was the reason for the worst fears at the Hamburg Polo Club on Sunday. In full gallop the rider wanted to pass the left goal pole but his horse went right and caught its foreleg on the hindleg of Caspar Crasemann’s polo pony. The horse fell, flipped over several times and seemed to bury its rider. It finally landed meters apart from Oettingen-Wallerstein who became unconscious. Anna Oettingen-Wallerstein: “The horse is comparatively big and heavy, a little bit sedate. It flipped over multiple times. The horse is doing well, it has nothing but a few scratches.“

Oettingen-Wallerstein lay 50 minutes unconsciously on the pitch isolated by an ambulance – he was unbelievable lucky. Besides the paramedics a neurosurgeon of the Hamburg UKE, Prof. Dr. Christian Hessler, was amongst the audience. He and a paramedic from Stuttgart Dr. Diedrich Haesen, chairman of the Hamburg Polo Club, were able to stabilize Oettingen-Wallerstein. Oettingen-Wallerstein had been brought to the UKE was not having any permanent damage. He just had a concussion and a few bruises. Anna Oettingen-Wallerstein: “What Dr. Hessler told us later in the hospital was upsetting. If he and the paramedic had not been there, Carl would have had a massive lack of oxygen and therefore severe brain damage. The paramedics alone would not have been able to help.“ But now he is doing well and already gave his first statement about his next polo mission. Anna Oettingen-Wallerstein “We assume that the horse flew over him. We can´t explain this lucky ending any differently.“

But this does not end the incomprehensible things. Dr. Christian Hessler is the one who is conducting a medical study on the safety of riders (particularly in military sports). Which helmets and vests are really lifesaving and helpful – the doctor is working intensively with questions like this at the moment. Anna Oettingen-Wallerstein: “Dr. Hessler said, the UKE would provide paramedics for polo tournaments in Hamburg free of charge to work on his study. At our own tournament at Wallerstein Palace we had a paramedic. This is of course a expense factor (A parametic rescue and an on-call emergency medic for three days costs 2.400 Euo in Wallerstein) but in dangerous situations like this it is about life and death.“


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