Objectives: To evaluate differences in the way iceskaters and roller/inline skaters fall.
Methods: Children’s falls related to skating were videotaped and categorised based on type of skating activity, child’s estimated age, direction of fall, whether the child attempted to break the fall, and whether the head struck the skating surface.
Results: In total, 216 iceskating and 201 roller/inline skating falls were captured on videotape. In both iceskating and roller/inline skating, the majority of falls were forward in direction. The skaters attempted to break the falls with their arms or hands in over 90% of falls in both iceskating (93.1%) and roller/inline skating (94.5%). A greater proportion of falls in iceskating resulted in the head striking the skating surface (13.0%) than did those in roller/inline skating (3.0%) (odds ratio = 4.8; 95% confidence interval 1.9 to 13.3; p<0.001).
Conclusions: This study found that paediatric iceskaters and roller/inline skaters fall similarly and that both types of skaters try to break their falls with their arms or hands; however, because iceskating takes place on a low friction surface, attempts to break falls with the arms or hands are often unsuccessful, leading to head and face injuries. The development of a new type of protective gear, a wrist guard with a non-slip palm, should stop iceskaters from striking the head, protect against upper extremity fractures, and unlike a bulky helmet, should not discourage children from skating.
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Competing interests: none
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