An increasingly popular recreational activity among teenagers, especially males, is skateboarding. Skateboarding can be a healthy sport if performed safely, with the rider using protective equipment as well as using common sense when skating. Skateboarding, unfortunately like any other physical activity, can lead to injuries that range from minor cuts and bruises to such serious injuries as brain damage. Each year in the United States alone, emergency departments treat about 50,000 skateboarders for injuries, and 1,500 children and teen skateboarders are hospitalized for serious injuries, as well. Tragically for one Brentwood teen, a skateboarding accident that occurred while he was performing an illegal move, landed him in the hospital where he remains in critical condition.
A Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital spokesman said a Brentwood Academy sophomore remains in critical, but stable condition after a skateboarding accident Friday. Brentwood Police Assistant Chief Tommy Walsh said the young male was holding on to the back of a moving vehicle- called skitching , which is illegal in Tennessee as well as every state in this country – when he lost his grip and fell, striking his head on the pavement.
To increase skateboarding safety, a growing number of cities now provide supervised skate board parks, which usually have professionally designed ramps and bowls and are located away from motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
The AAOS, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, do not recommend skateboarding for young children since they are still growing and do not possess the physical skills and thinking ability an individual needs to control a skateboard and ride it safely.
According to AAOS, sixty percent of skateboard injuries involve children under fifteen, and the majority injured are males. Most hospitalizations from skateboarding accidents involve head injuries, and these injuries can cause loss of vision, hearing and speech; inability to walk; and also changes in thinking and behavior. Other common injuries include injuries to the arms, legs, neck and trunk, which range from bruises and abrasions to sprains and strains, and fractures and dislocations.
Skateboarders can prevent both minor and serious injuries by following these tips:
- Use protective equipment: This includes a helmet, knee, elbow, and wrist pads
- Use a good quality skateboard and keep it in good working condition
- Skate on smooth surfaces away from both motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic
- Do not attempt illegal activities such as “skitching”
- Do not attempt tricks beyond your skill level
- Keep in good physical shape
- Never place more than one person on a skateboard
- Do not use headphones while skateboarding
- Be considerate of fellow skateboarders
- Know what to do in an emergency
By following these tips, skateboarders can participate safely in this fun and healthy recreational activity.