Skate safe

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Fifty-thousand Americans go to emergency rooms every year because of skateboard accidents. More kids and adults keep pushing their limits on their boards which equates to more crashes. (KFSN)

Fifty-thousand Americans go to emergency rooms every year because of skateboard accidents. More kids and adults keep pushing their limits on their boards which equates to more crashes. Here are some ways to steer you to safety.

Pete McDonnell loves almost everything about skateboarding ... the speed, yes. Jumps ... double yes. But that fall ... not so much.

"I basically just went tumbling forward in the middle of the street," McDonnell says.

His crash fractured a bone in his elbow.

"When I woke up the next day, I noticed that I couldn't actually bend my elbow completely straight," says McDonnell.

Doctors say injuries like his are common among skateboarders.

Robert Wysocki, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, says, "It can really run the whole spectrum, from finger to wrist to elbow."

Kids under the age of 15 make up more than half of all skateboard injuries and 85 percent are boys. The American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't want any child five or younger riding boards. And while adults may skate safer than kids, their bones are more brittle.

Mark Cohen, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, says, "Adolescents and children have rubber coating to their bones that make them much less susceptible to fracture."

A helmet, along with elbow, wrist and knee pads, help make skateboarding safer. So does knowing your limits and pre-planning your moves. And if you do fall, try to land on your forearms, not your hands.

John J. Fernandez, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, says, "Maybe doing a dry run or two and then doing it maybe at half speed before you get up to full speed."

McDonnell's rehab lasted months and required physical and occupational therapy.

He says, "Just being on the skateboard again feels great!"
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