So I’ve been skating for a good few years now (on and off) and never considered wearing a helmet.
Actually, I tell a lie. The only time I considered one was when I was influenced by skateboarding videos in the early 90’s. Back then, when they were skating an indoor park or a comp they would wear helmets. For a little while there my mates and I toyed with the idea of wearing them at our local park. This was more of a looking rad thing, than a safety consideration. Who knows, perhaps wearing one would have given us confidence to attempt harder tricks? We’ll never know because in the end we decided against it because we’d get laughed at.
A recent consideration I’ve had for wearing a helmet hasn’t been driven by looking like a 90’s pro comp skater, it’s actually been about preserving my remaining brain cells in the event of a serious spill!
Let me explain…
At our local primary school the kids are allowed to ride skateboards (and scooters) in a designated area. I’ve always thought this is very cool, as I remember how hard us skaters had to lobby the principal to let us skate the tennis courts at lunchtime at Kapiti College when we were 17.
Unfortunately, my son Aaron (who’s twelve) had a bit of a nasty slam during one of these sessions and ended up at the medical centre. We’re still not sure exactly what happened, but we believe he caught a stone, was thrown from his board, knocked unconscious and suffered a concussion.
As a result of his injury and several other head knocks, the school has now made helmets mandatory in the skate area. We received the email from the school announcing this while at the medical centre waiting to see the doctor! As a parent of one of the injured I think this new policy sounds like a good idea.
So Aaron is recovering well and having 3 weeks off from any sports or physical activity. My wife and I had a discussion about where to from here. It really makes sense for him to wear a helmet anytime he is skateboarding or riding his scooter.
It also makes sense for me to wear one too. It’s a bit of a strange thing, considering the many years of going without any safety equipment, which isn’t commonplace in NZ skateboarding culture. You only get one brain so it makes sense to look after it!
Doing some digging I’ve found a handful of skaters adopting/promoting helmets:
Josh Katz is one such example. He has some good videos which go into detail as to why he made the choice to wear one, what influenced his decision and how people have responded to him wearing one. He has some quite amusing hater baiter videos too – he obviously got a bit of backlash on the social media network which never fails to disappoint.
Another example I’ve discovered just recently is a 41 year old skater who has a channel called “Skateboarding Progression @40+”, sorry I haven’t figured out his name yet. He goes the whole hog with protective gear as he’s still mastering the basics. I actually think I’m going to write a separate blog on 40+ skaters so stay tuned for that at some stage.
Be safe and have fun out there.