Skateboarders can skate safely by following simple guidelines

August 30, 2012

Topic: injury prevention

Skateboarders can skate safely by following simple guidelines.

Skateboarding is often considered to be an injury-prone activity and may not be for everyone, but for enthusiasts, it's worth the risks. However, whether you've been skateboarding for a couple of weeks or years, injury prevention is always important.

There are approximately 50,000 emergency room visits and around 1,500 hospitalizations for skateboarding-related injuries among children and adolescents every year in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Around 60 percent of these patients are boys younger than 15.

Since the recreational activity is becoming increasingly popular, many communities are developing supervised skateboard parks, as reported by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. These designated areas keep skaters away from cars and have emergency medical professionals on hand in case of an accident.

The most common skateboarding injuries include bruises, sprains, fractures and dislocations. In severe situations, a head or spinal injury that requires immediate hospitalization may occur.

"Every skateboarder should expect a fall at some time, but every boarder must also take responsibility for his or her own safety," said physician Andrew Peretz, M.D. "Our safety guidelines fall into three major categories: wearing protective gear, learning how to fall, and knowing where to skate."

Peretz offers some tips for staying safe while enjoying the activity, such as wearing a properly fitting helmet and knee and elbow pads. In addition, skaters should learn how to fall correctly. For instance, using your hands to break a fall can result in a wrist fracture, but if you fall on your shoulder or back while tucking in your elbows you can scrape by with only bruises and minor abrasions. Finally, skaters should most often utilize skateboard parks where they can eliminate some of the potential dangers.

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