Whenever skateboarding is mentioned, most of us would picture careless, thrill-loving teenagers doing tricks with their boards.
Is skateboarding dangerous? The quick answer is no. Skateboarding is for everyone.
Read this article for a detailed explanation of common injuries and what you can do to make this activity fun and safe.
Skateboarding Can Be Dangerous
The main reason is:
It Can Cause Common Types Of Injuries
The most common injury for skateboarders is broken wrists. That is because people tend to stick out their arms to regain balance and to reduce the impact of the fall.
Most injuries occur to the extremities. Therefore, the most common type of treatment is immobilization in plaster.
Leg Injury From Skateboarding
Another part of the body that often suffers from skateboarding is the ankle. It is common for ankles to be sprained and fractured due to the great pressure that is applied to them while skating in elevated areas or doing tricks.
Face injuries come next on the list. Broken jaw and nose, and cuts and scrapes are part of the everyday game. They can be the result of a fall, or a trick involving flying up your board.
Head injuries, while accounting for a small percentage of total accidents, should not be taken lightly. Concussion, skull fracture, blunt trauma, and other serious head injuries can happen to children and adults alike.
And the most common cause of injuries can be categorized into the following groups:
Balance And Coordination
Losing balance and coordination happens to everyone, but iding for children. They have a higher center of gravity, and their coordination and reflex are not fully developed yet.
While skating, you have to constantly change your balance from one foot to the other to keep the board moving. Continuous movement and change of pace require great muscle reflex.
Early skaters often pay too much attention to skating alone that they forget to develop this important skill.
Overestimation Of Skill
For any sport, it is not a strange thing that some people are more gifted than other people. However, it is those people who need to be extra careful while skating.
For child prodigies, their parents must keep a close watch on them. They can learn new things quickly, and the over-excitement often gives them the sense that they can do anything. This fearlessness and overestimation of skill can easily lead to terrible crashes.
Do Not Blindly Attempt Tricks
For various reasons, not all skaters go to skateparks. We come across skaters on homemade ramps and neighborhood streets all the time.
Yet, homemade ramps are not professionally designed and are not safe guaranteed. Neighborhood streets contain many hidden risks like slippery ponds, fallen leaves and twigs, rocks, and other debris.
Do you know that the majority of skateboarding fatalities were on roads in parking lots? However great you can control your board, you can never be able to account for other pedestrians, bicyclists, and automobile drivers.
Who Gets Injured?
Here are some statistics to give you an overall picture of who gets involved in skateboarding accidents:
- Children under the age of sixteen accounts for over sixty percent of injuries
- Head and neck injuries are common for children under the age of five
- One-third of injuries happen to new skaters
- More boys than girls get injured
Why Do People Skate?
Unfortunately, most people have an unfavorable view of skateboarding due to stereotypes. However, skateboarding is no more, or even less, dangerous than bicycling if you skate properly in the right place.
Here are the reasons people take on skating and why you should too.
Skateboarding burns a lot of calories. You have to use your whole body to remain in balance.
It also makes your legs and core stronger.
It Is For Everyone
Skateboarding is not always about tricks. Learning to balance on a board is already a great achievement, though you can learn at your own pace.
Skateboarding is affordable. Owning a skateboard is no more expensive than owning a bicycle or basketball ball and pole.
Good For Reflexes
Falling and colliding are part of the game. Trying to reduce the number of falls and collisions demands you to hone your ability to focus and control.
Great Way Of Commuting
A skateboard can be a means of transportation. If you need to travel a short to medium distance, opting for a skateboard is an excellent way to exercise and improve your skill.
Although skateboarding is an activity that you can do alone, you can ask some friends to join you so the learning and practicing process is more fun.
You can also join a skating community. It is both a great way to make a friend and to learn from the experts.
It Is Not That Dangerous
Despite the facts provided above about skateboarding injuries, they are not exclusive to this sport alone. Every sport and activity contains risks.
In addition, most accidents are avoidable. Understanding and following the rules will save you from those unfortunate incidents.
Besides, falling and hurting yourself on the way helps build up your pain tolerance. Your fear of pain will be diminished the more you master your skill.
Learn And Practice The Basics
Books and videos are a great way to know more about skateboarding. They do not have to be about the technicalities of skateboarding only.
As already mentioned, people often project skateboarding in a certain way that is not necessarily accurate. Reading stories and the culture around this sport is not only informative but fun.
And we know this is a bit of a trite, but practice makes perfect.
The beginning of any learning process is often the most frustrating part. You have little to build on. Serious injuries at this stage are usually due to haste rather than inexperience.
Do not push yourself to skate on ramps, bowls, downhill, etc., or do any tricks. Practice from the basics up. Be focused and patient.
Join A Community
Learning on your own can be frustrating sometimes. Having comrades is an encouraging way to pursue an activity.
Besides, there are always people who are better than you in a community. Having them show you how to do certain things properly is proper quicker and more accurately than trying to figure it out on your own.
If you have children, there is more reason for being part of a community. Your children can benefit from an experienced skater. Plus, children under the age of five need to be supervised by adults when skating.
Skatepark Is An Ideal Place To Meet New People
Learn To Fall
No matter how good you are with this sport, falls are unavoidable. Since most serious accidents involve falling, it is necessary to learn how to fall properly.
Whenever you feel like you are falling, try as best as you can to lower your center of gravity. The shorter the distance between your body and the ground, the less impact the fall will have on you.
Do you still remember the number one injury for skateboarders? Try not to use the wrist to brace the fall. Use the fleshy part of your body to land on instead, to minimize the harm to your frail wrist.
Maintain Good Physical Condition
Wouldn’t that be the other way around, learning skateboarding so you can build your physics?
It is undoubtedly that skateboarding brings about many health benefits, including strengthening your muscles. Nonetheless, to be able to balance and control a skateboard, you have to be in fine physical conditions, like meeting a certain weight requirement or having a certain level of attention.
Being focused while skating is crucial. Lack of sleep will hinder your vigilance, thus causing accidents. Make sure that you get enough sleep to be able to endure any sport and not just skateboarding.
Wear Protective Gears And Clothing
A helmet is the first thing you should equip yourself with when deciding to skateboard. No matter how uncool you think wearing a helmet looks, it is only for your safety. Skull fractures and other severe brain damages due to skateboarding can happen to anyone.
There are specialized helmets for skateboarding, which cover more of the back of the head. You can utilize other types of helmets, like that of bicycling, but they will not have the same effect.
You should also use knee and elbow pads to protect yourself from cuts, scrapes, and gravel burns. Landing on your knee is one way to reduce the impact of the fall too. You can get out of it unscraped if only the knee pad is there to absorb the shocks.
Children Should Be Equipped With Full Protective Gear Set
Treat skateboarding seriously and do not wear sandals when skating. We recommend shoes with closed-toe and slip-resistant soles.
Furthermore, you should empty your pocket before getting on the board. You never know when your phones, earphones, coins, etc. are going to slip out and make your trip. It is not going to be a light crash with you on a moving object at a high speed.
Unlike some other sports, there is no specific dress code when it comes to skating. Choose pants over shorts, thick and durable over thin, easy to rip materials if you can. They will provide you with flexibility and additional protection that you need when skating.
Choose The Right Skateboards
Skateboard selection is extremely crucial to guarantee safety, especially for beginners. Three common types based on length are longboards, carvers, and double kicks.
Longboards are thirty-three inches or longer. They are used for traveling long distances or going downhill. Their length and stability, however, are not great for tricks.
Carvers are shorter than longboards, thus having more maneuverability. They are not designed for fast speed.
Double kicks are the type you often see at skate parks. They are loved by skaters for the compact size that is easy to carry around. They are the ones skaters use for tricks but are not designed to go long distances.
Regardless of the types of skateboards you own, remember to check your board before every use. Make sure there are no broken parts, loose nuts, or slippery board surfaces.
Always Check Your Skateboard Before Skating
Things To Avoid
A large proportion of injuries happen due to skating on irregular surfaces. Cracked pavement, rocks, leaves, and other debris would make you more prone to trip and fall.
In case you want to practice with ramps and bowls, go to the designated park for professionally designed ones. Homemade ramps are among the leading causes of accidents.
Avoid Skating On Irregular Surfaces
Again, we highly recommend going to skateboard parks to avoid collisions with vehicles and pedestrians.
It is good to look up the regulations in your jurisdiction. Some jurisdiction only allows skateboarding in designated areas, while others ban it completely.
Limit your speed to the level that you feel comfortable with. Be patient and increase your speed gradually to match your level of control.
Avoid stunts like riding two people on one skateboard, or skitching (holding onto a moving vehicle to ride along), at all costs. They are not cool; they are irresponsible and illegal.
Skitching Is A Big No
Other Unfavorable Conditions
Wet weather is bad for most moving things, let alone skateboarding. You are better off putting your boards away on rainy days.
Another caution is for dark lighting. Darkness makes it harder to detect objects on the way, thus reducing the available time to react.
Hope by now you have the answer to the question: Is skateboarding dangerous?
Since people suffer sprains, strains, and fractures from skateboarding from time to time, it is incorrect to say that this sport is not dangerous. However, by knowing the causes behind the accidents, you are more likely to avoid them.
If you exercise due care, this activity is no more dangerous than riding your bicycle. Good luck and have fun!
Reference: How dangerous is skateboarding?
featured image source: What Happened When I Fell and Broke My Shoulder