A young man was admitted to the Christiaan Barnard Trauma & Emergency Centre after sustaining a skateboard injury, ultimately resulting in the removal of his spleen. The patient reports having taken part in a skateboarding competition (Longboarding), recently held in Grabouw, where he was involved in a collision with other competitors and as a result struck a tree at high speeds.
After the initial assessment by the medical standby team, the patient was taken home by his parents, and then later reported to hospital. ER diagnostics relieved a severely damaged spleen, and a fractured left wrist. In addition to the splenectomy, the young man's wrist required repair with the aid of a plate in order to stabilize the fracture.
The patient is currently still in hospital, but well on his way to a healthy discharge.
An article entitled " Boarding Injuries: The Long and the Short of It", published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine International reported a comparison of statistics on injuries associated with both skateboarding and longboarding as seen in the trauma departments of various US hospitals.
- Practice skateboarding safely and use protective equipment.
- Learn the basic skills of skateboarding, especially how to stop properly.
- Use professionally designed "bowls" and "ramps" or other designated skateboarding areas that are located away from motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
- Don't perform tricks beyond your ability.
- Use a quality skateboard
- Keep your skateboard in proper working order
- Do not use headphones while skateboarding.
- Never put more than one person on a skateboard.
- Wear proper protective equipment
Wear Skateboarding Protective Equipment
- Wrist guards
- Knee and elbow pads
Young Children Skateboarding
Skateboarding is not recommended for young children because they are still growing and do not yet have the physical skills and thinking ability a person needs to control a skateboard and ride it safely. 60% of skateboard injuries involve Children under age 15. Most of those injured are boys.
- Inexperienced skateboarders. Those who have been skating for less than one week suffer one-third of injuries, usually caused by falls.
- Skateboarders who do not wear protective equipment. Every skateboarder should wear standard safety gear. This includes a helmet, wrist guards, elbow and knee pads and appropriate shoes. Skateboarders who perform tricks should use heavy duty gear.
- Skateboarders who go near traffic or use homemade skateboard ramps. Both activities are particularly dangerous.
- Experienced skateboarders who encounter unexpected surfaces or try risky stunts.
- Irregular riding surfaces, rocks or other debris can cause you to fall. You can stumble over twigs or fall down slopes.
- Wet pavements and rough or uneven surfaces can cause a wipeout.
- Avoid risky behaviour. Don't skateboard too fast or in dangerous or crowded locations.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):
- Children under age 5 years old should never ride a skateboard.
- Children aged 6 to 10 years old need close supervision from an adult or trustworthy adolescent whenever they ride a skateboard.
When young children are involved in skateboarding accidents, they are often injured severely. Skateboarding is a special risk for young children because they have:
- A higher centre of gravity, less development and poor balance. These factors make children more likely to fall and hurt their heads.
- Slower reactions and less coordination than adults. Children are less able to break their falls.
- Less skill and ability than they think. Children overestimate their skills and abilities and are inexperienced in judging speed, traffic and other risks.