Teen Skateboarder’s Brain Injury Death Sparks Safety Awareness

Sports head injuries are a hot topic among child safety advocates. Most of the attention on the issue has been focused on helping athletes who play sports like football, soccer, hockey, and similar games. Obviously, our Chicago injury attorneys know that it is vital for those involved in these games to keep these players safe. Another youth and young adult pastime may also present significant risk of head injury, and it is getting less attention that that currently devoted to team sport athletes. Skateboarding injuries continue to affect many families across the area. Often families are unaware of the significant risks presented by these injuries-they can be fatal.

Just this week the Badger Herald reported on an advocacy campaign being waged by a family following the death of their son from a brain injury suffered after a skateboarding accident. According to the young man’s family, the victim enjoyed motorcycle riding and longboarding. He was always very careful to wear a helmet when he was on his motorcycle, but he did not always do so when on the board. One night several years ago he was on his longboard, when one of the wheels stuck to the underside of the board and sent him flying off of it at a speed of about 20 miles per hour.

The victim suffered serious injury upon hitting the ground. His skull was cracked completely across the back of his head, and his brain connected with his skull in at least four different locations. In the week after the accident, the young man’s brain swelled into his brain stem, making it impossible for him to perform basic functions (including breathing). The man went unconscious and ultimately died ten days after the longboarding accident.

Since the tragedy, the man’s parents have worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the possibility of suffering one of these head injuries. They believe that if more boarders wore helmets, then many of these situations would be prevented. The family eventually created a foundation with a main goal of passing out helmets to boarders in the area. The family hands out free helmets to all those who fill out a one-page contract promising to wear a helmet at all times. The group is part of a growing pro-helmet trend across the country in many fields from the boarding community and extreme sports participants.

The group has grown from a grassroots team to the largest of its kind in the United States. The foundation is now looking to sponsor longboard races in the hopes of sharing the pro-helmet message and delivering more safety products. So far the organization has given out over 3,600 helmets, but they hope to expand well beyond that total in the coming months and years. The founders know that there remain many participants in these activities that do not appreciate the dangers they face when they do not take the risk of head injury seriously.

Helmets continue to be one of the simplest ways for local resident to avoid falling victims to an Illinois brain injury caused by bike riding, skateboarding, longboarding, roller blading, and similar activities. The Chicago brain injury lawyers at our firm hope that more residents heed the warning presented by tragic cases like this one. The injuries occur frequently, have serious consequences, and often can be prevented.

In Other News: Two of our companion blogs–The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog–were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

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