Skateboarding

01 Overview

Skateboarding is both recreational and competitive, with boards being used for travelling or performing tricks. Shorter skateboards allow for increased maneuverability to perform tricks such as flips, jumps, and wheelies. Skateboarding will make its debut at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. While there is risk for physical injury in skateboarding, there is evidence that these injuries can be prevented.

(see Section 04 - Prevention)
Athlete silhouette
View Common Injuries by clicking the blue dots on the silhouette

Traumatic brain injuries and fractures to the head and skull are common in skateboarding.

Ankle fractures are a common injury in skateboarding.

Elbow fractures are a common injury in skateboarding.

Wrist fractures are a common injury in skateboarding.

02 Injury Statistics

The most common injuries in skateboarding are fractures and traumatic brain injuries. The most common fractures reported are to the forearm, ankle, elbow, wrist, and head and skull. Skateboarders may be more likely than non-skateboarders to sustain an open fracture, also known as a compound fracture, where there is an open wound or break in the skin near the site of the broken bone.

An impact with the road or a vehicle accounts for between 45% and 70% of hospitalizations among skateboarders 15 years of age, while 10% to 27% are injured at a skate park or other recreational or sporting area. The most severe brain injuries and fractures account for 5% to 12% of hospitalizations among skateboarders 15 years of age and older.

Curious about the research on injuries?

It is estimated that...

03 Risk Factors

  • Age

    The risk of traumatic brain injury among skateboarders increases with age. Skateboarders ages 10 to 16 years are at a 50% higher risk of traumatic brain injury as compared to those under 10 years of age.

  • Skateboarding Surface

    The largest proportion of skateboarding injuries are related to loss of control due to irregular skating surfaces (e.g., cracks, rough pavement).

  • Location

    Skateboarding outside of a dedicated skate park increases the risk of injury. Head injuries sustained on streets or roads are far more severe than those sustained in a designated skate park.

  • Alcohol Use

    Alcohol use is a risk factor for injury in skateboarding. Older skateboarders who drink alcohol, skateboard in the streets at night at high speeds, and attempt risky maneuvers and stunts are at higher risk for serious injury, including head injury.

04 How can I prevent injury?

Some muscle soreness or joint pain is expected when increasing your level of physical activity. It is important to listen to your body for persistent or worsening pain, and to know when to rest. Learn more about how to prevent injuries in skateboarding.

  • Participant & Parent

    Talk to your coach or organization, if applicable, about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Equipment

    Using properly fitted protective personal equipment while skateboarding can reduce the risk of injury. This includes helmets, wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads. Skateboarding helmets cover more of the back of the head than other helmets, such as biking. Helmets can reduce the risk of skull fracture and traumatic brain injury.

    Location

    Skateboarding at a designated skate park can reduce the risk of injury. Skate parks are designed for skateboarding and separate skateboarders from dangerous areas with traffic or less than ideal surface conditions. Know the laws and regulations regarding skateboarding in your jurisdiction, as many jurisdictions only allow skateboarding in dedicated skate parks.

    Managing Concussion

    It is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource for participants and parents to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    The risk of injuries may be reduced by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports.

    Click here to view video and poster.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that specifically help keep the ankle strong and reduce the risk of injury. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent ankle injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Sport-related Physicals
    Skateboarding can be a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. An annual sport-related physical evaluation ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Coach & Teacher

    Talk to your organization or school, if applicable, about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Equipment

    Using properly fitted protective personal equipment while skateboarding can reduce the risk of injury. This includes helmets, wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads. Skateboarding helmets cover more of the back of the head than other helmets, such as biking. Helmets can reduce the risk of skull fracture and traumatic brain injury.

    Location

    Skateboarding at a designated skate park can reduce the risk of injury. Skate parks are designed for skateboarding and separate skateboarders from dangerous areas with traffic or less than ideal surface conditions. Know the laws and regulations regarding skateboarding in your jurisdiction, as many jurisdictions only allow skateboarding in dedicated skate parks.

    Managing Concussion

    It is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource for coaches and teachers to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    The risk of injuries may be reduced by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports.

    Click here to view video and poster.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that specifically help keep the ankle strong and reduce the risk of injury. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent ankle injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Facilities
    The Ontario Physical Education Association (OPHEA) provides recommendations for safety in skateboarding among elementary school students.

    Learn more about skateboarding in elementary-age kids.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Skateboarding can be a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. An annual sport-related physical ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where people may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Official & Administrator

    Talk to your coaches, teachers, organization, or school, if applicable, about the prevention strategies below and how they might be incorporated into training and policies.

    Equipment

    Using properly fitted protective personal equipment while skateboarding can reduce the risk of injury. This includes helmets, wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads. Skateboarding helmets cover more of the back of the head than other helmets, such as biking. Helmets can reduce the risk of skull fracture and traumatic brain injury.

    Location

    Skateboarding at a designated skate park can reduce the risk of injury. Skate parks are designed for skateboarding and separate skateboarders from dangerous areas with traffic or less than ideal surface conditions. Know the laws and regulations regarding skateboarding in your jurisdiction, as many jurisdictions only allow skateboarding in dedicated skate parks.

    Managing Concussion

    It is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource to learn more about how to recognize, prevent, and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to respond to a potential concussion situation, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    The risk of injuries may be reduced by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports.

    Click here to view video and poster.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that specifically help keep the ankle strong and reduce the risk of injury. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent ankle injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Facilities
    The Ontario Physical Education Association (OPHEA) provides recommendations for safety in skateboarding among elementary school students.

    Learn more about skateboarding in elementary-age kids.

    Sport-related Physicals
    Skateboarding can be a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. An annual sport-related physical evaluation ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. KidsHealth provides information about what sports physicals are, why they may be appropriate and where you may go to get them.

    Learn more about Kids Health Sports Physicals.

  • Health Professional

    The role of health professionals in preventing skateboarding injuries has two main components:

    1. Providing ongoing education to participants, parents, and coaches on effective injury prevention programs such as balance and resistance training; and
    2. Ensuring that injured participants are completely healed and fit-to-perform before returning to skateboarding to prevent re-injury or chronic injury.

    Managing Concussion

    It is important to be aware of concussion signs and symptoms and know what to do if concussion is suspected. The Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) is an online resource to learn more about how to diagnose and manage a concussion. CATT also includes resources on how to assess a potential concussion, as well as detailed Return to School and Return to Sport protocol.

    Equipment

    Using properly fitted protective personal equipment while skateboarding can reduce the risk of injury. This includes helmets, wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads. Skateboarding helmets cover more of the back of the head than other helmets, such as biking. Helmets can reduce the risk of skull fracture and traumatic brain injury.

    Location

    Skateboarding at a designated skate park can reduce the risk of injury. Skate parks are designed for skateboarding and separate skateboarders from dangerous areas with traffic or less than ideal surface conditions. Know the laws and regulations regarding skateboarding in your jurisdiction, as many jurisdictions only allow skateboarding in dedicated skate parks.

    Strength Training and Neuromuscular Training Program

    The risk of injuries may be reduced by regular participation in a balance training exercise program with a resistance training component, such as a neuromuscular training warm-up program.

    Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre has developed a neuromuscular training warm-up program that can be adapted to many sports.

    Click here to view video and poster.

    Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre Neuromuscular Training
    The Oslo Sport Trauma Research Centre has developed exercises that specifically help keep the ankle strong and reduce the risk of injury. This resource includes videos and PDFs for download.

    Learn more about exercises to help prevent ankle injuries.

    For more exercises, visit http://fittoplay.org/.

    Other Considerations (about this section)

    Sport-related Physicals
    Skateboarding is a physically demanding sport and some pre-existing conditions may increase the risk of injury. An annual sport-related physical evaluation ensuring fitness to play can help to reduce risk of injury. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides information about preparticipation physical evaluation.

    Learn more about Preparticipation Physical Evaluation.