Among the head and neck injuries caused by extreme sports, 80 percent of them were injuries to the head or brain, said Alan Weintraub, M.D., medical director of the Brain Injury Program at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo. Weintraub also served as medical director for the Rocky Mountain Regional Brain Injury System, and he is an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. He also is a consultant to the Colorado Division of Worker's Compensation Medical Treatment Guidelines TBITask Force.
Skateboarding is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, with approximately 14 million athletes participating in the sport currently, according to Weintraub. Snowboarding, motocross and skiing are all also increasing in popularity, each putting participants at risk for traumatic brain injury.
“It stands to reason, when you think about the mechanism of injury, why skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing and motocross really are so prevalent for these types of injuries — it’s because it relates to injury of the brain itself,” Weintraub said. “It’s not the acceleration and deceleration forces relative to the brain sitting inside this close-vaulted skull; it’s the angular and rotational forces that make it so difficult to study and find ways to protect this ‘biological computer.’”