Is Skateboarding Dangerous?

At GOSKATE, we maintain skateboarding is for everyone and that getting back up after we fall is the greatest lesson skateboarding teaches us. But exactly how safe is skateboarding? 

As the largest network of skateboarding instructors combining decades of experience with thousands of satisfied students, we know a thing or two about skateboarding injuries. 

Most notably, we know how to prevent them and how to address concerns of skateboarding being too dangerous to new skaters and their parents or guardians. 

We want to address the question: is skateboarding dangerous? And reinforce our understanding that skateboarding is only as dangerous as you make it to be. 

Hopefully, when we weigh the pros and cons, you’ll see skateboarding is a perfectly safe activity regardless of age or skill. 

So without further ado, in this article we’ll be going over: 

  1. Skateboarding Injury Statistics
  2. What you can do to Avoid Skateboarding Injuries 
  3. The Different Types of Protective Gear
  4. General Skateboarding Safety Tips to Avoid Serious Injury

Skateboarding injury statistics

In this article, we’ll be using statistical data from Skateboardsafety.org updated as recently as 2020. 

What would you say if we told you basketball and playground equipment injuries exceeded skateboarding injuries in 2018? Now what if we added baseball, softball, soccer, and even swimming to that mix – would you believe it? 

According to statistical reports from 2013-2018 resulting in emergency department visits, skateboarding injuries fell below the above sports and only rose above activities like Fishing, Volleyball and Golf. What these statistics prove is that many injuries in skateboarding are minor and easily treatable when maintained by proper safety equipment (as you will read below). 

That being said, here are some statistics for you to consider:

  • According to the National Safety Council, 125,145 skateboarding injuries required emergency department visits in 2015.

     

  • According to Injury Facts in 2017, nearly half of emergency department skateboard injuries involved the age of 14-24.

     

  • In the same 2017 statistical analysis, 74% of all injuries happened to extremities, 19% to broken wrists, 11% to ankle injuries and 16% to the face.

     

  • The most common injuries from skateboarding are sprains to extremities and generally do not require a visit to the emergency room.

     

  • 20% of skateboard injuries are to the head or higher proportion to the body occur to skateboarders under the age of 10, (wear your helmets kids!). Only 3.1% of all injuries are serious head injuries (in all skaters).

     

  • One-third of injuries are sustained by new skaters or beginners but only 5% of skateboarding injuries are severe and nearly all of the severe injuries involve an accident with a motor vehicle.

It’s important when reading these statistics that injuries happen all the time but those who are prepared with proper safety gear, knowledge of staying off the roads and the necessary skills of stopping safety, the potential for serious injury dramatically reduces. 

This is precisely why we recommend our student skaters master the foundation of skating, which includes stopping and maintaining balance when riding. 

We guarantee you’ll master how to propel, balance and stop within four lessons, with many students mastering the techniques after one session. But we wrote this article for a reason. There’s many ways you can avoid skateboarding injuries and promote proper safety techniques in your skating.

What you can do to avoid skateboarding injuries

Skateboard injuries are bound to happen, it’s a part of the physical nature of skateboarding. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t avoid skateboarding injuries by learning a few simple rules of thumb

Know Your Skill Level: You know how they say, don’t bite off more than you can chew? Well, don’t drop in on more than you can skate… literally. We’ve all seen the nightmare YouTube videos of skateboarding fails where more often than not it’s someone who had no idea how hard it is to drop in without proper instruction. You have to push your limits and boundaries in order to progress but you have to know them first to do so effectively. 

Practice Proper Skatepark Etiquette: This might be the most effective bullet point on this list as improper skatepark etiquette is one of the main reasons young children get injured. Imagine an adult skater, narrowing their focus on a complex trick at full speed and your child veers right in front of the runway or he or she drops in when someone is already on the ramp carving full speed around the pocket. Going early to skate parks before noon is a great way to avoid crowds and always take a few minutes to understand the flow of the park and see where the runways and landing lanes are.

Taking Care of Your Body: When you’re young, you can jump down anything and get up from a common skate crash. But if you’re learning to skate as an adult or want to teach your loved one great habits, taking care of your body will help you avoid injuries and even be a better skater. When you first get to the skate park, make sure you take some time to stretch out your legs, hips, groin, and really all areas of your body that you find might be sore after a session. 

The same thing for when you’re done skating, stretch it all out as a cool down. If you find yourself sore later on that night, ice your extremities or take a hot shower to relax your muscles. Essentially, get in the habit of paying attention to your body and giving it the care it needs. Tiger bomb is also a secret weapon of many skaters or cbd cream. 

Learn How To Fall: In skateboarding, the better you get the more you fall then actually land. That’s because you’re constantly learning new tricks and trying new maneuvers. Learning to fall means learning how to slide on your back, rolling over your shoulder instead of putting your wrists out, and things like keeping your center of gravity low when you pick up speed so you can slide on your butt instead of slamming on your face. Watch the great skaters at any local skate park, they’ve all mastered the bail.

Don’t Skate: Okay, we promise we’re not making a snarky joke here. Because in all seriousness, if you feel a soreness or maybe you’re not 100-percent for any reason, sometimes not skating is the right choice. Skateboarding is very physically demanding, so if you’re going into it with a weak ankle or sore back, you’re going to make things worse. This is a challenge all skaters have, especially pros and has to be judged day by day. Take a day off every once and a while. Your body will thank you for it.

Master the Foundation of Skateboarding: Here at GOSKATE, we teach all of our students the foundations of skateboarding. This includes learning how to stand on your skateboard and maintaining your balance when you turn and pedal. We guarantee you or your loved one will master the foundation of skateboarding within your first four lessons, with some of you even after your first.

Avoid the Road (Skitching and Hill Bombing): The number of skateboarding deaths and serious life-altering injuries nearly all happened on the road. The number one and number two reasons skateboarders end up in the hospital or worse is from holding onto the back of cars or busses (sketching) or skateboarding down very, VERY, steep hills (Hill Bombing) without a helmet. 

Wearing Proper Safety Equipment: In skateboarding, from proper form to proper safety equipment, proper preparation prevents poor performance. While this includes wearing the correct clothes and shoes in addition to proper safety gear, the different types of protective gear are paramount to avoiding injury. Which brings us to our next point.

The different types of protective gear

Protective gear makes all the difference in not only advancing your skills on a skateboard but avoiding painful injuries. Here is a list of the different types of protective gear skateboarders actively use to avoid injuries.

Helmet: A helmet is placed over the head with a strap under the chin to protect a skater from head injuries. A helmet is the most common form of protective gear and is even required by the Olympics and Street League for contest skaters under the age of 18.

Knee Pads: Knee pads are a beginner skater’s best friend. As large pads that go around your knees, knee pads are a great guard against the ground and can even help you skate bigger ramps like vert ramps. When you learn how to crash onto your knees with confidence, you wont get injured and you’ll have the gusto to go bigger and bigger.

Elbow Pads: Elbow pads are smaller than knee pads but operate the same as an encompassing shield around your elbow. Elbow pads are less intrusive than their knee pad counterparts but are just as important in protecting you against injury. 

Wrist Guards: Naturally, most humans reach out with their hands when they are falling. This is what makes wrist guards so important since the number one bone broken by skateboarders in their wrist. Wrist guards are thus essential, especially to young skaters who have no fear of falling. 

Knee Brace: A knee brace is a great way to protect yourself from the unwanted bends or extensions that can result from falling on a skateboard. Since most skaters wear knee braces after a fall as a form of rehab, it’s a good idea to get your hands on one sooner than later.

Ankle Brace: An ankle brace is one of those pieces of protective gear a skater loves and hates. They love an ankle brace because it allows them to skate with minimal or no pain in their ankle, but they hate them because they mean you’ve injured your ankle (again). So while skaters will be thankful to their supportive ankle brace, as a sign of a healthy body free of injury, skaters want to eventually be able to skate again without one.

General Skateboarding Safety Tips to Avoid Serious Injury

Make Sure You’re Ready for Skate Park: A lot of skaters and parents make the mistake of hitting the skate park before the skater is truly ready. While yes it is a public space, and yes, it’s welcome to all ages, a skate park is not a day care or a jungle gym. It’s a training facility where the physical boundaries of people are constantly being pushed, tested and even competed against. Going to a skate park too early can not only result in injury, but being intimidated and discouraged. Make sure you’ve mastered the parking lot and your driveway and even skate around your neighborhood comfortably before packing everything up and hitting your local skate park. 

Avoid Wearing Headphones: Once you’re really comfortable skating in hectic environments and have mastered skatepark etiquette, skating with headphones is very enjoyable. But if you start skating with headphones too soon, you potentially put yourself in harm’s way and at risk of injury. Here’s a little life hack if you’re someone who might enjoy not being approached at a skatepark: have your headphones in but with nothing playing. No one can tell the difference and you can still hear skaters zooming by.

Skate With a Friend: Skateboarding injuries are going to be way worse if you sustain them alone. In case you hurt your ankle and need help getting to the car or worse you injure yourself more severely, having a friend to get help is paramount. This doesn’t even have to be someone in your age group or skill level. Just a friend, or even better, an instructor. 

Avoid the Horror Videos: Skateboarding as a media and art form is always represented in video, but that doesn’t mean you should click on every skate video out there. There are plenty of horror videos on the internet of tragic and dramatic skate injuries that nobody should watch, let alone skaters. You don’t want any ‘one and a million’ instances to creep into your head. Skating is about confidence and self expression so the last thing you want is for thoughts of ‘getting hurt’ to linger in the back of your head. Watch skate videos that inspire you, not scare you.

Skate in the Grass: You might be thinking, “What the heck! Wheels won’t roll in the grass?” Well, precisely. A great way to learn new tricks like the ollie or kickflip is by first practicing in the grass. That way if you do fall, you’ll be cushioned. 

Learn to Skate from a GOSKATE Instructor: Learning to skate with a GOSKATE instructor is our number one recommendation for avoiding skateboard injuries. The American Academy of Pediatrics has promoted for decades now that no child under the age of ten should skateboard without supervision and with the largest network of trained skateboarding instructors, our experience speaks for itself. We always promote our students to wear protective gear approved by the consumer product safety commission and begin our classes in the safest environment possible. Contact GOSKATE today to find out how you or your loved one can learn to skate today in the safest way possible.

But Wait, There's More!

As your number one supplier of skateboarding information and highly trained skateboarding instructors, GOSKATE invites you to check out our other articles, videos and trick tips, so you can learn more about what makes skateboarding so special.

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Become The Best Skater You Can Be!

Skateboarding is one of the hardest activities and can take a lifetime to really master. However, it is also one of the most fun and rewarding activities anyone can participate in. We truly believe skateboarding will positively impact your life in ways you or your loved one could never have anticipated. 

Contact GOSKATE today and find out how you can introduce the love of skateboarding into your life!

Remember to always have fun. So what are you waiting for? Hit up some friends or a GOSKATE instructor and GOSKATE!

Zane Foley

Zane Foley has been writing professionally since 2014, since obtaining his BA in Philosophy from the California State University, Fullerton. Zane is an avid skateboarder and Los Angeles native. Follow him on Instagram for links to his other published works. @zaneyorkfly

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