I have two teenagers in my neighborhood who spend a great deal of time on their skateboards, often accompanied by friends. Yesterday I drove home to find four teens on skateboards spread out across my narrow street. I was driving slowly and it was daylight. If it had been night and I had been driving a little faster one or more of the teens could have been seriously injuried. I called out to one of the teens, who lives up the street, and asked if he had ever seen anyone with a head injury. "No", he said in an arrogant voice, "but we are too smart to get hurt." Famous last words.
In looking on the Internet about the incidence of skateboard injuries in teens, I was very sad to see that the first four Web sites were from parents who had each lost a teenage son to a head injury from a skate board accident. Teenagers are particularly at risk also from car accidents, bike accidents, and snow board accidents. A friend's daughter was at a major university and used her bicycle to get around. The first two years she wore a helmet but then decided this wasn't "cool". How dearly she paid for that decision. She had an accident on her bicycle and ended up with a severe brain concussion. She probably should have dropped out of school for a while but after her stay in the ICU and some post-recovery time she returned to take one class. Even this was a fight. She is still suffering both emotional and physical results from the head injury. What a price to pay for "being cool.' Now she ahs started a campaign on campus to get the students to wear helmets when they are riding bicycles. I certainly hope my neighbor's two boys and their friends don't have to learn about head injuries the hard way.