Skateboarding: A Surprisingly Safe Sport

By Ellen Kuwana
Neuroscience for Kids Staff Writer
November 13, 2002

Skateboarding is a relatively safe sport. This is the conclusion of a report published in the October 2002 issue of The Journal of Trauma. Researchers examined data from emergency room visits in 1998 for people who participated in sports. They found that skateboarders had 8.9 injuries per 1,000 participants. The data showed the following injury rates per 1,000 participants:

SportInjuries per 1,000 partipants
In-line skating0.9

From 1987 to 1998, more than 666,000 skateboarders were seen in emergency rooms for injuries. The majority of these skateboarders were male (86.8%) between the ages of 12-17 years (53.1%). In 2001, more than 100,000 skateboarders had trips to the emergency room for injuries. The number of skateboarding injuries has been increasing steadily since 1993. Certainly part of the reason for this increase is the growing popularity of skateboarding. The researchers think that the increase in injury rate also may be because many skateboarders won't wear protective gear such as helmets and knee and wrist pads. The popularity of "street skating," which involves risky stunts and puts skateboarders close to traffic, may further contribute to the increase in injuries. In fact, many of the accidents analyzed in the new study involved skateboarders and cars.

In-line skaters, by comparison, are more apt to wear protective gear, and thus do not suffer as many injuries as skateboarders. The researchers recommend an educational campaign to encourage people to wear protective gear. They also suggest that more parks designed for skaters might decrease street skating, thus reducing injuries.

References and further information:

  1. Kyle, S.B., Nance, M.L, Rutherford Jr., G.W., and Winston, F.K. Skateboard-Associated Injuries: Participation-Based Estimates and Injury Characteristics, The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 53:686-690, 2002.
  2. "Safety: An Edge for Skateboarding," By Eric Nagourney, The New York Times, October 22, 2002.
  3. Brain Fitness - from Neuroscience for Kids
  4. Pediatricians Want To Restrict the Use of Skateboards and Scooters - from Neuroscience for Kids

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