Did you know there are approximately 176 skateboard or mountainboarding injuries in the United States alone every day? These are numbers based on a two-decade-long study that looked into how many emergency room visits were related to skateboarding and mountainboarding. It came out to roughly 64,500 injuries each year.
Mountainboarding and skateboarding injuries are causes of concern. That, however, doesn’t mean that you have to be part of the statistics. Yes, this sort of extreme sport, the type that involves speed, an adrenaline rush, and personal skill, inherently carries a considerable risk of injury.
And according to the numbers and injury frequency, there’s a good chance you will end up with a hard fall or a scrapped knee at some point if participating in this extreme sport.
The good thing is that you can take measures as a rider to minimize your chances of injury and minimize the degree of the injury itself, should it ever occur.
Common Mountainboarding Injuries
Mountainboarding injuries almost always occur when moving, although some occur when the rider is stationary and trying a new trick.
However, these injuries aren’t as common as those occurring when you are in motion. Motion-related injuries typically occur as a result of balance loss.
You are more likely to fall on an outstretched arm when this happens. This will most likely lead to an arm, wrist, knee, face, or elbow injury.
Here are some of the most common injuries that could occur:
- Upper body: These injuries typically involve your arms, neck, legs, and general trunk area. They range from minor injuries such as cuts, sprains, bruises, and strains to major injuries such as broken bones and fractures. In fact, wrist fractures are some of the most common injuries in mountainboarding.
- Facial injuries: These injuries revolve around broken noses and even jawbones.
As you would expect, the more severe the fall, the more likely it will be that the injury will also be quite considerable. It’s not uncommon for a head injury and even a concussion to occur when mountain boarding.
How to Prevent Common Mountainboarding Injuries
That being said, here are some steps you can take to prevent mountain boarding injuries.
Wear Safety Equipment
This has to be the very first thing you do before you even think about getting on your mountainboard. It’s very much like driving a car, riding a bike, or cycling; you must belt up and wear protective gear for each activity, respectively. Furthermore, there’s science behind wearing protective gear.
Use a Properly Fitted Helmet
This will help keep your head nice and snug, and well protected. Certain specifications make your helmet ideal for proper protection. Your helmet needs to sit flat on your head and have side straps that form an actual “V” shape when you wear it around your ears.
Additionally, the buckles of the helmet should fasten tightly. You should only be able to fit two fingers between your chin and the strap. The helmet should also have removable pads that you can insert to make it snug. The helmet should stay in place and not move in any direction when you shake your head. It shouldn’t interfere with your vision, movement, or hearing.
Finally, you should replace your helmet at the frequency advised by the manufacturer or at least once every five years.
Wear Wrist Guards
Wrist guards do more than protect your wrist from painful scrapes; they also support the wrists and greatly reduce the chances of breaking your wrists if you land heavily on them.
Elbow Pads and Knee Pads
Your knees and elbows tend to be the most predisposed to injury when mountainboarding. That’s mostly because people tend to fall on them as a way to support themselves and lessen the possibility of injury to their torso or face, as well as relieve the pressure on their wrists.
Wearing well-fitting and manufactured knee and elbow pads will reduce the severity of the cuts, scrapes, bruises, and burns that these regions suffer.
These are designed to keep debris and dust away from your eyes as you fly down the side of a hill or track.
Closed-Toe Shoes With Slip-Resistant Soles
Wearing closed-toe shoes with slip-resistant soles instead of sandals will not only improve your balance and control of the board but will also protect your feet from scrapes and bruises if you fall.
You should keep in mind that you need safety gear no matter what kind of mountainboarding you intend to do. Just because you don’t perform tricks doesn’t mean that you are immune to falls and scrapes.
However, if you intend to perform tricks on your mountainboard, you are highly advised to wear heavy-duty protective gear. Padded shorts and sturdy shoes should also be considered in addition to the other safety gear we mentioned.
Mountainboard in a Safe Environment
Similar to skateboarding, the quality of your mountainboard has a lot to do with the degree of risk you face in terms of injury. Mountainboarding is a back-country sport that should ideally be practiced away from urban areas and other vehicles.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use your mountainboard in an urban area. And this is where most of the risk lies.
If you mountainboard in a populated area with vehicles, pedestrians, and other motorized devices such as bikes, you run a high risk of getting into an accident involving one of the motorized vehicles or a pedestrian.
You are highly advised to mountainboard either in secluded locations or spaces specifically designated for mountainboarding. Here are some simple guidelines you can use to choose a safe environment to mountainboard:
- Avoid extremely steep and unevenly textured hillsides
- Avoid practicing your tricks on homemade mountainboarding ramps
- Avoid using your mountainboard in extremely wet or snowy weather
- Do not hold onto the side or even the rear of moving vehicles
- Do not mountainboard in crowded areas
- Focus on your technique
While there are other reasons people fall or get injured when mountainboarding, there are very few as obvious as poor or lack of technique. If you are going to go mountainboarding, it’s only logical that you take the time to learn the proper technique. The basics are particularly important.
Skills such as proper balance, how to stop, how to safely turn, and how to slow down might seem trivial, but they will serve you well once you get into high speeds or are flying down the side of some hill at breakneck speeds.
Other than that, you need to learn a few other skills. These include:
Although this might sound counterintuitive, learning how to fall safely when mountainboarding is one of the most important skills you can master. It’s one of the first things that kids learning to ride should be taught, too.
Here is a video giving you an idea of how to fall safely on a skateboard, which uses the same basic principles as mountainboarding:
Mountainboard According to Your Skill Level
Like most sports, mountainboarding takes time to master. The skills involved might seem simple enough, but the situations surrounding the application of those skills can be rather dynamic.
That’s why the very first thing you should do is master the basics before you go on to other more complicated maneuvers. Do not rush to mountainboard at a skill level you aren’t comfortable with yet. This also applies to learning tricks.
Take the time to master them slowly as your skill level progresses, and you will prevent any unnecessary injuries. Finally, keeping fit will allow you to be more agile and nimble enough to prevent falls and possible injuries.
Use the Right Equipment
There are many different types of mountainboards on the market today. You are not going to be comfortable riding on all of them. It’s advisable to find one that works specifically for you and master using it.
Once you are comfortable with it, you should also take the time to learn all you can about how it works, the various parts it entails, such as trucks, and how to repair it yourself. This will help you create a kind of bond with your mountainboard and improve your riding experience.
Additional Safety Tips for Mountainboarding
Here are some additional safety tips for mountainboarding that should help protect you as well as the people around you a little better:
- Be considerate of any other mountainboarders in your vicinity, especially those who are less skilled than you are, as well as those who are younger.
- Don’t use your headphones when mountainboarding.
- Don’t mountainboard with a passenger.
Finally, realize that mountainboarding accidents and injuries occur regardless of your skills or professional prowess. Once you accept this, you will be less afraid of it happening to you and more proactive in preventing and minimizing the degree of mountainboarding accidents and injuries.