Skateboarding is a relatively new sport in the history of mankind; and it is also one of the favored activities among teens and young adults. Skateboarding provides physical activity and challenges the body and mind. It also presents a risk of injury.
According to statistics, more than 50,000 of the annual emergency room visits incurred by patients under the age of 19 stem from skateboarding accidents. Fifty-two percent of these patients are younger than 15 years of age, and 85% of them are boys. Finally, 33% of these emergency room visits occur within the first week of taking up the sport.
Because skateboarding is such a popular sport, the idea that we shouldn’t do it can be more than frustrating. There is no need to pack up the board just yet. Instead, boarders can learn ways to reduce their risk of injury so they can enjoy the benefits of this activity, as well as optimal wellness.
Safety Precautions for Skateboarders
- Age-based supervision. Until skateboarding prowess (and awareness of safety) has been demonstrated, a child should skateboard under the direct supervision of a reliable adult. In most cases, a child is not ready to hop on a board until after the age of five, due to their still-developing musculoskeletal system and motor skills.
- Staying in line. Skateboarders stay in line by riding within their capabilities. Sure, you’ve got to challenge yourself to grow, but there is no rush to reach the next level. When gaining skill, it is best to take it slow, especially when tricks are involved.
- Equipment checks. Just like you would check the air in bicycle tires before a long ride, you also want to check your child’s skateboard parts. Are the wheels fully functional – secured to trucks and able to roll smoothly? Is the baseplate tight against the deck? Is the skateboard deck the right size to support the weight of the rider? These are all questions to ask when first purchasing a board in order to maximize safety.
- Riding environment. We’ll just say it: there is never a safe time to ride alongside a moving vehicle. Skateboarding should take place on an even surface where the potential for collision with people and objects is at a minimum. Also, skateboarding is not an activity to enjoy in the rain or on wet surfaces.
- Getting into gear. Like skiers and snowboarders, skateboarders need protective gear including slip-resistant shoes, elbow and knee pads, wrist guards, and a helmet.
- Fall like a pro. There is a trick to falling in such a way that the risk of injury is minimized. Skateboarders need to learn to crouch down if balance is lost, putting their body closer to the grown to reduce impact upon falling. The head should be covered and the elbows tucked. Arms and hands should never be extended to catch oneself.
Guess what! Anyone who skateboards is going to fall at some point, maybe at many points. This is why injury prevention needs to be discussed.
Is there already a question about injury? Call 973-942-1315 for a consultation and diagnostic testing to address existing symptoms.