With spring and summer fast approaching, many families and children are ready to lace up their inline skates and take to the recreational trails and sidewalks to enjoy this popular activity. Inline skating is one of the fastest growing recreational sports in the United States but also ranks high in injuries. More than 26 million Americans participate in the sport of inline skating.
Hospitals and doctors’ offices treated an estimated 172,000 inline skating-related injuries in 2001, according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC also estimates pain and suffering, medical, work loss, legal and liability expenses associated with these injuries cost the U.S. over $3 billion.
“Many of the injuries occur when skaters lose control and as much as one third of the injuries reported occur to the hands and arms,” explained Stuart Weinstein, MD, pediatric orthopaedic surgeon.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends the following safety guidelines:
*Perform warm-up exercises before and after skating.
*Learn the basics of the sport, particularly how to stop properly, before venturing into vehicular or pedestrian traffic
*Continue to wear protective gear, including a helmet, wrist guards, and knee and elbow pads. Take good care of your skates.
*If you feel that you are going to fall while skating, try to fall on your left or right side, instead of falling on an outstretched hand.
*Obey traffic signals, stay at the right side of the road, and do not weave in and out of lanes. Avoid skating in crowded walkways.
*Choose smooth pavement, preferably in a supervised skate park.