Extreme Sports Safety: snowboarder wearing helmet and goggles goes down a hill

Extreme Sport Injuries: Use Certain Skills to Max Thrills and Reduce Wipe-Outs

Boarders, bikers, and other extreme sport athletes require dedicated skills to provide thrills and prevent extreme sport injuries from spills.

Some of those most extreme sport injury prevention skills include appropriate protective equipment, knowing the course, and respecting limits.

Extreme Sport Injuries; several bmx bikers wait to compete at the 2016 Vans US Open

Action from the BMX Bowl at the 2016 Vans US Open

Do helmets actually prevent extreme sport injuries? How can I tell that a helmet is properly fitted?

Personal experience backed by multiple studies prove that helmets can prevent injury.

Every time one gets on a board or a bike, there should be a helmet on the head.

A helmet hanging off the handlebars or kept in the garage is doing absolutely no good.

Helmets may not look cool, but a shaved head and scars from an accident look less cool.

Now, to be fully accurate, there are some limitations to helmets.

No helmet is 100% protective- they are designed more to reduce skull fractures than concussions.

Wearing a helmet does not give license to be more daring- make sure you read this a few times for emphasis.

A improperly fit helmet can reduce vision (which may increase, not decrease injury risk).

So, wear those helmets, understand limitations, and make sure they fit!

Extreme Sports Safety: snowboarder wearing helmet and goggles goes down a hill


                                                    PROPER HELMET FITTING TIPS

  • The helmet should sit level and cover the forehead
  • The strap adjusters should right under the ears and straps should lie flat against the head
  • Straps should not hang loose, curl out, or be twisted.
  • Test for proper tightness by being able to put only one finger between the straps and chin.
    • If helmet can be rocked from side to side, tighten straps.
  • The helmet should rock slightly forward and backward.
    • Tighten straps if it can be moved up off the forehead or down near the eyebrows.
  • Add-on stickers and paint can personalize the helmet, but often void helmet warranties.
  • Buy only helmets with CPSC, ASTM, or Snell stickers certifying safety standards.
  • Multi-sport helmets should carry stickers certifying each sport.
    • Look for this sticker on the helmet, do not trust sales information or pictures on the box.

Click here: Poorly fitting helmets may increase number and length of symptoms after concussion

What is the scoop on wrist guards, elbow pads, and other protective pads and guards to prevent extreme sports injuries?

Many younger athletes don’t like wearing pads, “they get in the way, get too hot, and don’t look good.”

Pads do work, and work quite well in preventing broken bones, sprains, and road rash from falls or missed stunts.

Experience has shown that wrist guards can greatly reduce the risk of forearm fractures due to falls.

Most people would prefer wearing protective pads and guards to wearing a plaster cast for 4-8 weeks.

Extreme Sports Injuries- a skateboarder is pictures in the air at the 2016 Vans US Open

Extreme Sport Injuries: Skateboarder at 2016 Vans US Open

Best ways to prevent extreme sport injuries?

Always know where you are going and be honest with your limits

  • A common recipe for disaster is to barrel down an unknown trail unaware of obstacles or drop-offs that lie ahead.
    • Take time to preview the course or to ride the pipe a few times at slow speed before trying tricks at full throttle. This can increase confidence and lower risks of unanticipated fall.
  • Be aware of obstacles (rocks, trees, stairs, cars, and people) who might get in your way.
    • Always look ahead 20-30 yards to anticipate potential dangers and to give time to make adjustments.
  • Be aware of your own skill and take into account your limits before deciding to do a particular course or maneuver.
    • Do not be pressured by friends or your ego.
    • If you do not feel comfortable riding the black diamond snowboarding run, do not do it.
    • Have fun and build your skills at a run better suited for your abilities.
  • Fatigue is also a major factor in injuries.
    • That one last run at the end of a long day often ends up truly becoming the last one.
    • Stop at the first signs of fatigue before judgment, endurance, and muscle strength become too low to prevent serious injuries.
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