Wear Your Helmet
Contributed by Rob Bradlee Generation XC - Resources
I am writing to urge you all to wear your helmet while rollerskiing. I've been wearing one for years, but recently got lazy about it. Here's what happened.
I was rolling one time in Rindge, New Hampshire (USA) and feeling really good. I was about 20 minutes away from the car and headed back when a big bug flew into my face at the bottom of a steep fast downhill. In my rush to brush the monster off of me I got a bit destabilized, my ski drifted, and the next thing I knew I was having my own Private Ryan experience.
I slammed down hard but fortunately distributed the energy over many body parts so I only had light abrasions on knees, elbows, and one shoulder. However, I also slammed my head onto the pavement and opened a gash above my left eye. I dripped blood all over my nice new V2s and had to staunch the bleeding with the sleeve of my T-shirt from the '91 Nationals! I made it back to the car and that evening got 7 stitches at the local ER. (Got a good Nurse Practicioner who liked to sew and did a very neat job). I am amazingly unscathed considering the speed of my crash, but it easily could have been much worse. With a helmet on I would have basically been fine. (With my speed reducers on I wouldn't have fallen).
I have been rollerskiing for 25 years and although I've taken many small spills, I've only taken two hard crashes. The other was 15 years ago when I put 6 stitches in my left cheek (on my face) and decided that bike helmets were a good idea for rollerskiing. I figure I've rolled at least 30,000 Ks since that accident without a serious repeat so I got complacent about helmet wearing. I've been given a second chance and I won't get complacent this time.
I had to give my 12 year old daughter "the talk" when I got back from the ER about how parents don't always do the right thing but we learn from our mistakes and that's why we make rules for our kids. Of course her solution to not looking "goofy" in a helmet is to not bike or rollerblade. But at least at BKL camp at Stratton she wore a helmet and rollerskied with the other kids.
Too bad I didn't get a photo of my face by the time I got back to the car. Big red bump on my forehead and blood dripping off my eyebrow and all over my face with a big red splotch on my shirt where I used it to compress the wound. Very impressive.