Skating in its different forms is a popular means of recreation among children and adults. It is also fast gaining popularity as an efficient means of short-distance transportation. The activity is exciting and a good exercise, but the risk of injury is also high. Skateboarding is a fun sport that involves high-speed movements on smooth, hard surfaces. However, there are several risks associated with the activity because of the potential for collisions and falls.
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A 1998 study published in the "Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine" compared skateboarding, roller skating and inline skating for frequency and severity of injuries among children and found that skateboarding was the most risky, with 50.8 percent of the skateboarders suffering head injuries, compared with 33.7 percent of inline skaters and 18.8 percent of roller skaters. Skateboarding injuries also resulted in the longest hospital stays. Well-fitting helmets are crucially important, and some kids may refuse to wear them because it makes them sweaty or because they want to look “cool." Parents must ensure that their kids know the risks involved in skateboarding without helmets.
Fractures to the hands, legs and wrists are common during falls, especially when you are learning to skateboard. Skateboarding on smooth, level surfaces reduces the frequency of falls. Protective equipment such as proper shoes, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards can reduce the severity of falls and prevent fractures. A supervised skate park is the safest place for skateboarding, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Skateboarding on busy streets close to traffic increases the risk of collisions with vehicles or pedestrians. Avoid crowds and traffic for your own safety as well as that of others. High-speed skateboarding on roads and highways results in more severe head injuries, according to the 1998 study from the "Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine." Use a good quality skateboard and inspect it for cracks or nicks before every use. Never allow another person to get on your skateboard with you. Keep yourself aware of your surroundings and avoid the use of headphones.
Weather and Light Conditions
Wet weather can create risky conditions for skateboarding, which may cause you to lose control of your movements. Avoid skateboarding in dark areas and always study the route before you begin. If you trip because of a twig or rock or lose your balance due to an uneven surface, you could fall and injure yourself.
If you take risks and make moves beyond your physical ability and skill level, you are putting yourself and people in the vicinity in danger of injury. Avoid making jumps or high-speed moves if you are not experienced. If you do perform any tricks, only do so in a skate park that has monitoring and emergency medical care available. Never attempt skitching, which is a highly dangerous trick wherein skateboarders hold onto a moving vehicle for speed. If the vehicle turns or makes a sudden stop, you could be thrown into moving traffic or hit a hard surface with great force.