Extreme sports like street luging, skateboarding on rails and ramps, and snow boarding off nearly impossible jumps are hotter today than they have ever been before. The athletes who pursue these challenging activities often become as dedicated as Olympians and spend hours every day practicing and improving their technique in order to be able to enjoy the thrill that only making the perfect ollie or dropping a hill on a buttboard can bring. Extreme athletes often refer to the adrenaline rush of competing as being “amped,” and many say that there is no other feeling in the world that is as satisfying. For most of these rough and tumble athletes, part of the appeal of extreme sports is the danger.
Unlike sports that are regulated by official certified judges and require the athletes to wear protective gear and perform with ship shape equipment, extreme sports competitions sometimes include relatively unprotected athletes competing on somewhat ramshackle paraphernalia, like luge boards made out of skateboards with plywood additions. These conditions lead to greater thrills for many of the participants, because the more dangerous a situation is the more adrenaline the body produces, leading to the feeling of being “amped.” However, the long term damage that results from the kinds of injuries that many extreme athletes endure often leaves these enthusiastic men and women feeling less than thrilled. Whether or not the excitement of extreme sports is worth the danger is something that nobody can decide but the athlete who is putting his or her body on the line. However, if you or somebody in your life is thinking about joining the hardcore world of extreme sports, it is a good idea to do some research into what common injuries are, and how they can be prevented.
Often, wearing a helmet or certain kinds of padding can make the difference between ending up in the hospital after a wipe-out and walking away with a few pesky bruises. The hazards of every sport are unique, so the kinds of kneepads that a skateboarder favors might not be very much help to a street luger. The only protective gear that will really help an athlete is the gear that is specifically appropriate to his or her sport, so before you put any money into protective gear, read as much as you can about the hazards you are likely to face, and try to get some firsthand advice from experienced athletes in the field you want to be a part of. Many extreme athletes don’t bother with the kind of protective gear that they should be wearing, in part because they worry that kneepads or elbow pads will decrease their cool factor. However, taking care of your body is as important for an extreme athlete as it is for any athlete, if not more so. Even if chucking bales might not seem as exciting with a helmet as it is without one, if you protect yourself you can always be sure that you will have the chance to take another crack at your favorite extreme challenge.