Background: With the increasing popularity of skateboarding, trauma centers are experiencing increased number of skateboard injuries. The incidence and type of injuries and the effect of age on these variables are poorly described in the literature.
Methods: Data from National Trauma Databank during a 5-year period was used for this study. Injury Severity Score (ISS), injured body area, specific injuries, and outcomes were calculated according to age groups (younger than 10 years, 10-16 years, and older than 16 years).
Results: During the study period, there were 2,270 admissions due to skateboard-related injuries (0.1% of all trauma admissions). There were 187 patients (8%) younger than 10 years, 1,314 patients (58%) 10 years to 16 years, and 769 patients (34%) older than 16 years. The overall mortality was 1.1% and ranged from 0% in the age group younger than 10 years to 0.3% in the group 10 years to 16 years and 2.6% in the group older than 16 years (p < 0.001). The incidence of severe trauma (Injury Severity Score ≥ 16) in the three age groups was 5.4%, 13.5%, and 23.7%, respectively (p < 0.001). The incidence of traumatic brain injury in the three age groups was 24.1%, 32.6%, and 45.5%, respectively (p < 0.001). The younger age group (younger than 10 years) was significantly more likely to suffer femur fractures and less likely to suffer tibia fractures than the older age groups. Helmets and use of a skateboard park were significant factors protecting against head injury.
Conclusion: Skateboard-related injuries are associated with a high incidence of traumatic brain injury and long bone fractures. Age plays an important role in the anatomic distribution of injuries, injury severity, and outcomes. Our findings demonstrate that helmet utilization and designated skateboard areas significantly reduce the incidence of serious head injuries.