How to stay safe at Birmingham’s new skateboard park

Skateboarding is hot, and UAB Medicine can help young skateboarders stay safe.
Written by: Marissa Keppley
Media contact: Bob Shepard

skateboard streamOn Go Skateboarding Day, June 21, skateboard enthusiasts gathered in Birmingham at the opening of City Walk Skatepark which is being celebrated for its professional-level equipment and atmosphere. But before you drop in and attempt that backside 180, here are some tips from University of Alabama at Birmingham Sports and Exercise physician Thomas Evely, D.O., on how to stay safe while shredding your next run.

What are the most common injuries you see from the skateboarding community?

Skateboard injuries are most common in children from the ages of 10 to 16 years old.

“At UAB, we see a wide range of injuries; but the most common from skateboarding are scrapes/abrasions and sprains to the lower body, like knees and ankles, but then also to the upper body — elbows and wrists — due to falls on outstretched arms,” said Evely, an assistant professor in the UAB Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in the Marnix E. Heersink School of Medicine. “Head injuries are less common in general, but do occur more at skate parks. Also, we find that, at skate parks, more injuries occur in areas with ramps or bars.”

What are some ways that people can avoid or prevent an injury?

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend wearing proper safety equipment including a helmet, wrist guards, and knee and elbow pads when skateboarding. They also recommend that children under 5 years old not participate in skateboarding.

“Additionally, I would say that overestimating your skill or becoming fatigued often leads to injuries,” Evely said. “And skate parks can bring on a sense of competition among skaters, which leads to attempts at riskier tricks. So along with wearing proper safety equipment, my advice would be to keep a level head, know your limits and stop when you are tired.”

Is there anything else you’d like the skating community to know?

“While we hope we don’t have to see you for an injury, we are here to help when it happens,” Evely said. “UAB Medicine has urgent care options for immediate issues, and my colleagues in UAB Sports and Exercise Medicine are always here to help. If you need an appointment with us, just give us a call at (205) 930-8339.”