Chris Dufficy, Jon Gocer, Christ Tutin – do you recognize any of these names? Dufficy is a pro-snowboarder, Gocer a popular skateboarder and Tutin is a dirt bike rider, and all of them have sustained traumatic brain injuries while participating in extreme sports.
Profiled in Lionel Goddard’s documentary film Wipe Out, these young men represent a growing percentage of youth who are pushing their physical limits with ever faster and increasingly maneuverable high-tech gadgets.
According to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention study, close to 213,000 people were treated in U.S. emergency departments from 2004 to 2005 due to recreational outdoor activities. More than 50% of those injured were aged 10-24 and close to 24% of those injuries were to the head and neck. A total of 6.5% were diagnosed as traumatic brain injury.
While not all of the injured failed to wear protective gear, a significant amount can link the lack of a helmet with concussions and brain injuries. A decrease in snowboarders or skateboarders is unlikely, but the proper education of those participating in potentially dangerous activities will help to slow down the incidents and resulting damage.