In Wake of Increased Injuries Skatepark of Tampa Adopts New Safety Guidelines
Tampa, FL (April 1, 2015) – Skatepark of Tampa (SPoT) has partnered with the Tampa Firefighters Association and the Better Business Bureau to draft a new series of safety guidelines in the wake of an exponential increase in skateboarding related injuries at the skatepark.
Due to an influx of new and inexperienced skaters, the rate of injury at SPoT over the first quarter of the year has increased seven fold in relation to 2014 first quarter reports, to a rate of one injury per 10 skaters for every 50 hours of activity on average.
New guidelines will require all skaters at SPoT to wear kneepads, elbow pads, and helmets that meet DOT approval standards. Skaters under the age of 18 will also be required to wear an ADA certified mouth guard and “high top” footwear that extend at least two inches above the ankle.
Long time skateboarder and SPoT owner Brian Schaefer is excited about the new guidelines, “I grew up skating with full pads,” he says. “I’ve always thought pads were cool. And we’ve been plagued with injuries due to the increased level of risk the kids have been taking with their tricks. So I fully support the push for more safety at the park and I know the parents will support it as well.”
Injuries reported by SPoT staff in the last week alone range from ankle sprains, torn knee and elbow ligaments, concussions, and even one case of full body paralysis. “Some days the ambulance comes here two or three times before lunch,” says SPoT Operations Manager Mikah Collins. “It’s time for a change.”
SPoT regulars are not as supportive of the new guidelines as SPoT management would hope. “I hate wearing pads, period,” Says Jonathan McGuire, a 13 year old from Lutz who sits with his friends during a break inside the SPoT snack bar. “It makes it really hard to do tricks. I feel like I get hurt more with pads on to tell you the truth. I’m not going to be skating SPoT anymore probably, and you don’t ever see any pads in Thrasher.”
The guidelines went into affect the week of March 29th, and in the first three days the park has reported no injuries. The guidelines will be reevaluated at the end of the year. Until then, if you’re planning a day of skating at SPoT, remember your pads, because from now on it’s Safety First! (Pads available on request for $14.99 per session. Talk to your accredited DDS for more information on ADA certified mouth guards).