Are you a thrill seeker, the kind of athlete who thrives on the danger of trying a new sport? Sports like hang gliding, windsurfing, bungee jumping, motocross and ski sports are not for the faint at heart. Many of us would rather watch the Olympics or the X-Games than be a competitor, whether it be a part of organized or unorganized sports. Does that mean you should never try them? Of course not! But, it does mean you should be aware of the risks involved when trying a new sport.
Extreme sports have become the norm, and the X-Games themselves rank higher each year as athletes try bigger and better tricks, and spectators live vicariously through those taking part. Even the Olympics is adding more and more to their repertoire, and as a result we’ve seen accidents occur with loungers and ice skaters. Popular Freestyle Skier Sarah Burke pioneered the superpipe event. She died in early 2012 from head injuries sustained in a fall, after doing a practice run of a routine she had done hundreds of times before. Half pipe snowboarders see increases in pipe height from 12 feet to now sometimes over 22 feet high. Athletes are encouraged to take their skill and threshold to the next level to become better than those before them, or to break their own personal records. A sport like surfing, where protective gear is minimal, ranks high on the list of extreme sports as boarders take risks with wave conditions and impending shark attacks. And, while more norm than extreme, even skateboarders are pushed to the limits with stunts and ramps, riding on rails, and performing feats that can cause them to land head-first on the asphalt.
If you are someone who thrives on the adrenaline provided by these sports, you know that injuries could happen at any time. What could cause an injury and what do you do when it happens to you? As an athlete, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Make sure you have a partner to spot you when you are practicing, and never try a new stunt alone.
- Make sure your insurance policy is up to date and that you pay for the added liability you need for taking part in extreme sports. (This added feature will not be part of a standard policy.)
- Check the conditions of the course before you attempt a run.
- Utilize the right tools and equipment, and know your surroundings.
If you find that you have been injured due to an accident that resulted from your extreme sport, you’ll want to be sure you have documentation that supports the equipment, accident and the conditions surrounding the incident. Seeking counsel who specializes in personal injury is a necessity.
Many of us won’t be convinced that we want to engage in extreme sports all the time, but knowing the conditions might entice some of us to test our limits and go beyond our comfort zones when the time is right.