The Trauma Committee found an alarming number. Between 2006 and 2011, out of all the longboarding accidents, 30% had traumatic brain injuries. That means more medical costs, longer stay at the hospital and a longer road to recovery.
One Provo man loves all things and all activities outdoors until a longboarding accident put him in the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center for 20 days in a coma.
“I was riding in the behind my friend and I stopped and I don’t know what happened to me,” said Travis.
Now, Travis has trouble speaking because doctors were forced to remove a portion of his frontal lobe. It’s a cautionary tale to what can happen when you don’t wear a helmet.
“Even though longboarding is thought of as a relaxing, chill kind of a sport, like surfing, there’s safety things you should take into consideration,” said Utah County Health Department’s Carrie Bennett.
A video posted on YouTube shows longboarders riding down the Provo River Trail without helmets.
“The biggest problem we can see is the bleeding and the swelling that can result from that,” said Utah Valley Regional Medical Center Physician’s Assistant Leslie Fabian.
Cat scan images can show the damage. The white marks indicate blood showing up where it’s not supposed to be.
“It just gives a cushion between the brain and whatever contact surface you’re hitting,” said Fabian.
Through a $1,500 grant from the Utah County Health Department, the Trauma Committee and volunteers have handed out 100 helmets to riders in the Provo area. They hope to decrease the number of longboarders coming to the trauma center.
“Wear your helmets, please. This is just stupid,” said Travis.
The idea is to make it fun for people to wear helmets while longboarding. You can participate in a photo contest and win an award this Saturday. Simply send a picture of you longboarding and wearing a helmet on Instagram with #helmet2board. You are then entered for a chance to win a GoPro. Visit the Utah Valley Specialty Hospital at 306 West River Bend Lane, Provo, UT 84604 at 7pm to learn more about the sport and safety.