Go to any skatepark in America and you'll see throngs of minivans dropping off hoards of kids that look like they are ready for war. Elbow pads, wrist guards, kneepads, BMX helmets, mouthguards, sunscreen, and sunglasses are all strapped to tikes who walk around like Frankenstein because of unnecessary equipment.
Maybe it's the words Xtreme or Action Sports that puts fear into parents when their kid graduates from scooters to skateboards, but there is no question that Mom and Dad are scared, and for good reason. Lots of people get hurt skating; it's a fact. Broken wrists, twisted knees, and rolled ankles are common injuries for most of us, but when you compare skating to other activities, it suddenly seems pretty tame. According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, skateboarding is a comparatively safe sport.
Published reports state that an average of 40 people die skateboarding every year. This includes longboarding. The majority of skater fatalities were on public streets and involved a collision with a car. The second cause for death: hillbombs.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission says that the number of skateboarding injuries is typically 8.9 per 1,000 participants, which is low. Basketball, a non-contact spot, has a 21.2 ER-treated injury per 1,000 players' rate. So, tossing yourself down a double set is technically safer than playing a game of H-O-R-S-E.
Here are some other activities that are statistically more dangerous than skateboarding.
- Using a Ladder: Saving a kitten, retrieving a Frisbee or cleaning a gutter seem like easy things to do, but 113 people die every year in the United States doing it. You are three times more likely to die from falling off a ladder than transferring over one in the deep end.
- Riding a Horse: Horseback riding seems easy, but history tells us that even Superman can get paralyzed from a bucking bronco. More than 100 cowboys and girls die every year from horseback riding. Save a horse, ride a skateboard.
- Eating a Hot Dog: If baseball doesn't bore you to death, you've still got other problems to worry about at a ballgame. Every year, 10,000 kids get sent to the ER because of choking on food – the most popular culprit? Hot Dogs. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has motioned to change the shape of hot dogs to something less choke-worthy. Insert wiener joke here.
- Women's Soccer: In the United States, soccer has always had an effeminate reputation. Maybe it's the long socks – who knows? Regardless, it's the most popular sport in the world and it's more dangerous than skateboarding. Nearly 10 injuries per 1000 female soccer players is the current statistic, so if you're a girl considering a new sport, play it safe and pick up a board.
- Football: No surprises here. A bunch of juiced up jocks slamming into each other at a full sprint. Every year there are more news stories about NFL players who have no short-term memory and can barely function due to repeated blows to the head. By comparison, it makes Jake Brown's injuries look pretty tame.
- Basketball: As we mentioned above, you are twice as likely to end up in the hospital from playing a game of hoops than a game of S-K-A-T-E.
- Hiking: One thing you'll never have to worry about at a skatepark is getting lost. In Florida, the largest park is Kona and it's 40,000+ square feet, which sounds huge, but it's actually smaller than Evander Holyfield's house in Georgia. You could still get lost at Kona but your chances of getting mauled by a bear or eating the wrong berries are way lower. Consuming the snackbar's chili dogs are another risk, though.
- Constipation: Typically there are 30 deaths per year linked to a lack in log dropping, but there have been instances (IE 1999) where there were more than 150 deaths in a year. It's safer to eat shit on a skateboard than hold one in, apparently.
- Cooking Dinner: Statistically, the kitchen is more dangerous than the skatepark. Every year there are 65 deaths per-year that happen while preparing a meal. Double that if hot dogs are on the menu.
- Sex: According to the study called The Coital Coronary, more than 10,000 people die every year while knocking boots. This staggering number doesn't take into account things like HIV and AIDS either; it's literally lovers keeling over dead from things like heart attacks. Skateboarding remains the safest way to ride 8-inches of wood.