Skateboarding is a lot of fun, and it’s a sport that many people can enjoy. However, as with any type of sport, there is some risk associated with it. Boarding also has a social stigma of being unsafe.
Is skateboarding dangerous, though? It can be and injuries happen, but there are plenty of things you can do that will help to reduce the risk.
According to research, skateboarding is no more dangerous than other sports. Injuries can be prevented or their severity reduced when you make sure to take certain precautions. Namely, you need to wear protective gear, learn the basics, learn how to fall, and get proper instruction.
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Skateboarding Injuries: What Are Common Injuries?
Before getting into the ways that you can prevent injuries from occurring, it’s important to get a better sense of what types of injuries can occur. You’ll then be able to get a better sense of what to expect and how to avoid those common injuries.
Some of the common skateboarding injuries include:
· Sprained or broken ankles
· Sprained or broken wrists
· Skull fracture
· Facial injuries, such as a broken nose
· Swollen elbows or knees
In 2018, about a third of the reported injuries were related to young children skating. These injuries occurred in kids who were between four and 14 years old. Half of the skating injuries were from skaters between 14 and 24 years old. During 2018, there were 125,145 visits to the emergency room for skateboarding injuries, according to the National Safety Council.
It’s important to keep in mind that it’s not just kids and new skaters who are receiving injuries. Even those who have been skating for years could receive an injury. However, it’s not any more dangerous than other types of sports.
When you just look at the numbers, it might seem scary and you might feel that it’s just a matter of time before you have to call the emergency department. That’s not the case. When compared with other things you do, it’s safe.
You shouldn’t let the fear of an injury stop you from skating. Other common sports, including basketball and football, tend to be more dangerous. What you need to do is make sure you are finding and following the best tips for reducing injuries and avoiding skateboarding accidents.
Skateboard Safety Tips: Master the Basics
When you get your skateboard, it’s tempting to just take it out into the street and start skating. If you are a beginner who has never ridden, or if you are a seasoned rider, you always need to be careful.
The first thing you need to do is to master all of the basics of skating before you do anything else. Take the time needed to get used to your board, so you are comfortable with it.
Learn how to balance. Know which foot you prefer to have forward and then learn to push. Go slow when you are learning turns and how to stop. Don’t try to perform tricks until you know the basics and keep your tricks simple. Don’t try risky tricks that are beyond your skill level, or suffering injuries is just a matter of time.
Don’t Put Anything in Your Pockets
When you fall, you don’t want to have anything in your pockets. Landing during a fall is bad enough, but it could be even worse if you have something like keys in your pocket. You wouldn’t want to have your phone in your pocket either, as it could be damaged in a fall.
Always Be Considerate
Whether you are riding on your street or at a skate park, you want to be kind and courteous to other skaters. Most skaters are friendly and can give you some pointers on safety, how to fall, and how to stay safe.
Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
You don’t want to cause an inadvertent accident, so you must always be aware of what’s happening around you. This includes watching for other skaters, pedestrians, motor vehicles, and other obstacles that could end up causing injuries.
Don’t Surpass Your Level
Although you might want to perform the tricks your friends and others are doing at the skate park, you need to take it easy. Don’t go faster than you are comfortable on your board, and don’t try things you shouldn’t.
Never let your friends try to goad you into doing something that you aren’t ready to try like difficult tricks or hill bombs.
Don’t Wear Headphones
Although you might see a lot of skaters do it, especially when they are cruising down the street, it’s a bad idea. When you have headphones in, you can’t hear what’s happening around you. You might not hear a car honking at you or another skater telling you to get out of the way. Injuries and headphones go hand in hand.
Wear Protective Gear
Some skaters don’t like wearing gear for one reason or another. They might not think it fits their style or that it prevents them from doing the tricks they want to do. However, if professional skaters can wear protective gear, everyone can.
When you wear protective equipment, you will find that it can greatly reduce the number of injuries you receive, as well as their severity. While adults can make their own decisions regarding this gear, children should always be wearing protection. Parents will want to enforce this with their young skaters.
Let’s look at some of the proper protective gear that should be used.
Head injuries can cause serious trauma, and these injuries can last for a long time. The helmet is the most important item that will help keep you safe when skating.
Make sure you have a high-quality helmet that’s specially made for skating to ensure your brain stays safe in case of an accident. If your helmet suffers a hard blow, whether you were wearing it at the time or not, you should replace it.
Having this protective equipment will help to reduce the risk of injuries to your wrists. They are helpful during those times when you fall and aren’t able to roll with the fall.
The guards could help to ensure that you don’t break your wrist since they will absorb a lot of the impact from the fall. They can also help to reduce abrasions and other injuries to your wrists.
Elbow pads can help to ensure you don’t suffer from swollen and bruised elbows in case of an accident while skateboarding. If you don’t have these pads, you are at a higher risk of fracturing your elbow.
Elbow injuries can take a long time to heal, and they can continue to cause problems for you even after you are “better”. It can be difficult to properly bend your arms if you have several of these types of injuries.
Knee pads are used to help absorb shocks from falling onto your knees. While knowing how to fall can help to reduce knee injuries, having these pads will help to ensure your knees are safe and intact when you have to slide.
Although many street skaters are not fond of knee pads because they feel it restricts movement, they are worth it. You can learn how to skate with the pads so you don’t suffer from injuries that could follow you the rest of your life.
The safety gear discussed above is important, especially when you are learning how to skate. Even after you have built up your skills, it’s in your best interest to continue wearing safety items. Otherwise, the injuries that you receive skateboarding will be worse than they should have been. Always buy quality equipment.
The Right Clothes
In addition to the gear for protection, you should also think about the types of clothing you are wearing while skating. You want to have clothing that allows you to move freely, which means you don’t want tight clothes. Look at most skaters, and you will see that they tend to wear clothes that flow and that can provide some protection.
Some might wear jeans, but canvas pants can work well, too. They can reduce the risk of laceration and abrasion injuries from falling. Shirts are up to you, but you’ll find that many skaters simply wear t-shirts.
Something else you should consider will be your socks. Skateboarding socks should breathe, and it’s nice if they have some support for the heels and the toes. Always choose clothing that breathes and that will be comfortable to wear, as well as stylish.
Proper shoes are important for skateboarding, as well. While you might see some skaters with their regular shoes, combat boots, or their bare feet boarding, it’s not a good idea.
Proper skateboard shoes with heel support and cushioning are important. The shoes should also have a grippy sole. They will help to make skating more comfortable and will ensure that you have control over your board. This reduces the risk of injuries.
The shoes shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. You don’t want them cutting off your blood flow, but you also don’t want to kick them off when you push. You can find a range of quality shoes for skating from brands like Vans and Nike. Choose the best quality shoes you can fit into your budget.
The right shoes will help to ensure that you have proper control of your board and that you stay on the board. They can help to reduce injuries.
Get a Great Board
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they get excited about learning to skate is buying the wrong board. They look for a cheaper board to save some money, but this is a bad decision.
Those boards that you find at places like Target are not good skateboards. They are made from cheap materials. The deck and the trucks will break, which can cause a host of different types of injuries.
Instead, you need to make sure that you opt for a professional quality skateboard. Below are some of the things you should look for when buying.
· Deck – The skateboard deck should be made from quality maple, and it should come from a reputable skateboard brand.
· Trucks – You need solid trucks from well-known brands with a good reputation.
· Wheels – If you are street skating, opt for harder wheels. If you are cruising on a longboard, softer wheels are the way to go. Regardless, only choose quality brands.
· Bearings – Bearings ensure your wheels are spinning properly. Don’t neglect the importance of bearings when choosing your equipment.
· Grip Tape – Don’t forget to have grip tape added to your board. This is going to help hold your feet in place, so you don’t slip and fall.
Even though it might cost a bit more to get a better board, it’s worth it. The board will last longer, it will ride better, and the risks of injuries will be lower.
Make Sure Your Board Is Safe
Ideally, you will have a high-quality board that’s in good shape. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, people will get a hand-me-down board from a sibling or a friend. While the gesture is nice, you have to be sure the board is safe to ride.
Make sure that you check the deck for sharp edges from wear and tear that could cause cuts. Check the trucks to make sure they are in good condition. If they break, it could cause you to take a serious tumble.
Check the bearings, as well. If they are broken, the wheels could lock up on you, which can send you flying off the board. Make sure the wheels are properly attached, as well. You don’t want them to be loose and too wobbly.
The Right Places and Time to Ride
Another way to reduce the risk of injury is to consider when and where you are riding. For example, think about the weather conditions. You don’t want to ride in the snow or the rain. It’s slippery and dangerous. The wheels, and even the grip tape, will become slick, so you can’t stay on your board.
You shouldn’t ride at night either unless you are in a skate park that has lights. Be wary about where you are riding and obstacles in the road. They might just be small cracks, twigs, and leaves, but they can cause accidents and injuries.
Find safe places to skateboard. Skate parks are your best solution. Your driveway or a patio out back can be a good place to learn the ropes. Try to avoid crowded areas and traffic. If you are going to be skating in a parking lot or on the street, check for rocks, glass, and other hazards.
Improve Your Physical Condition
If you are in bad shape, you’ll find that skating will be more difficult, and it could increase your risk of injury. This doesn’t mean that you can’t still learn how to skate. You can and should. It could help you to lose weight and get into better shape.
However, it might take a bit longer to learn, and depending on your weight, the deck might snap more easily.
It’s often a good idea to take steps to start getting into better shape while you’re learning how to skate. You can lose some weight, build some muscle, and have an easier time learning. It will also reduce the chance of getting an injury. When you are heavier, it means you will fall harder.
Safety Tips for Kids
Kids love skateboarding, but extra caution needs to be taken with young riders. Experts feel that kids who are under six should not be skateboarding. When the kids are between six and 10, they should still have their parent’s supervision whenever they are on the board.
Parents can make sure they are wearing safety gear and that they aren’t trying things outside of their skill level.
Kids have a greater risk of injuries when skateboarding. This is because kids tend to be more fragile than adults. It’s also because their center of gravity is different. Young kids have not developed their motor skills, and they might not be as conscientious of what’s happening around them.
Kids may have a more difficult time learning to balance. They might also be more confident than they should be. They aren’t fully aware of their limits.
Parents can help to make things safer by:
· Requiring protective gear
· Helping the kids to learn the basics
In some cases, getting lessons will help. This is especially true if the parents have never skated. You don’t want to give the kids bad information.
Skateboarding Doesn’t Have to Be Dangerous
Broken bones, serious head injuries, bruises, and scrapes are words that make many people feel that skateboarding is just too dangerous to try. As you’ve seen, though, it doesn’t have to be so dangerous. It’s no different from other sports.
Learn the basic skills of balancing and pushing. Learn to turn, learn to fall, and go as slowly as you need. This will reduce the risks so you can concentrate on having fun.