Health Officials: 50,000 ER Visits Annually Nationwide For Skateboard Accidents

The death of a teenager who was killed in a skateboarding accident in Emerald Isle is shining the spotlight on skateboard accidents.

Vidant Medical Center Injury Prevention manager Jennifer Smith says over 50,000 patients are brought to emergency rooms across the country every year with skateboard related injuries. She says, about 1,500 of those are head injuries and call for hospitalization.

Matt Gillen who owns Backdoor Skateshop in Greenville says he always encourages skateboarders to wear protective gear, especially young skaters. Gillen says he's seen and received his share of skateboard related injuries, everything from broken wrists, rolled ankles, and cuts and scrapes to arms and legs. But he says it's not an activity he would consider dangerous as long as people are being careful.

Skateboard facilities that are privately owned say it's up to the discretion of the owner if skaters wear helmets or not. Owners tell WITN, usually if a skater is under 16-years of age, they are required to wear a helmet.