Do You Need a Helmet Rollerskating?

Studies show that inline skating head injuries (also rollerblading, done using inline skates/rollerblades) and rollerskating (done using quad skates) happen less frequently than do ice skating head injuries.

In one study, ice skating accounted for 13.3 percent of the head injuries observed compared to just 4.4 percent for rollerskating and 5 percent for inline skating.

Here’s another interesting statistic. An ice skating-related accident is more likely to culminate in a concussion compared to a rollerskating or inline skating-related accident. Another well-known fact is that wrist injuries are more common in rollerskating compared to head injuries and other kinds of injuries.

And an analysis of skating injuries data collected between 1993 and 2003 revealed that falls are the number one reason skating injuries happen.

So, what conclusions can we draw from the roller-skating injury facts above? Falls happen a lot whether you’re out there rollerblading or rollerskating. And while rollerskating head injuries don’t happen as often as wrist injuries, they still happen.

That unlucky person who smacks their melon onto the pavement and suffers a life-changing concussion could be someone you’ve known for years — you.

Men Vs. Women Inline Skaters: Who Gets Hurt More Frequently?

It’s a fact. Female rollerskaters are more likely to get hurt than their male counterparts.  I don’t know why that happens, but that’s what happens.

But while female skaters see injuries more often, they’re significantly less likely to need an operation after an accident. Data shows that male inline skaters face 3X more surgeries after a rollerskating accident than do their female counterparts.

But here’s the thing. Both men and women do get hurt while rollerskating indoor or outdoor. And while no amount of protective gear can push down incidents to zero, gearing up does help in some way.

What I’m saying here is to always strap on your wristguards and wear good roller skating knee pads. And don’t forget to slide a good rollerskating helmet on your noggin.

Falls happen, you know. You never know when you’re going to stop on some pebble, fall hard backward, and smash your skull open. So, helmet up. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you what’s the best inline skating helmet a little further down the road.

Why Don’t Some Rollerskaters Wear a Helmet?

Whether it’s in a public rink session, down a vehicle-free jogging or walking path, or on some city street choking on traffic, there’s always that unhelmeted roller skater doing their thing. Now, I’ve interviewed (informally) quite a few roller skaters, and they cite all sorts of reasons for not helmeting up.

Many Kids and Adults Hate Feeling Stupid or Uncool

Some skaters hate the feeling of looking stupid or uncool.  This seems to be one of the most prominent reasons for not gearing up. Have you ever asked your kid why they almost always rollerskate without head protection? I bet they said their friends enjoy the outdoors without proper gear, and that that’s cool.

The vast majority of the unhelmeted rollerskating heads I see are kids. Lots of kids want to look cool, but some end up needing serious medical attention in the Emergency Department.  Many parents today seem to think it’s OK for their child to hit the streets rollerskating without a helmet.

But as a caring and loving mom or dad,  you need to have a little talk with that cool-worshipping tike soonest you can. Unless you’re OK with them becoming a vegetable after a hard wipe-out.

There’s also that adult who doesn’t want to wear a helmet for the same reason as their kid. They don’t like feeling stupid or looking too safe.

Me? I wear my full rollerskating gear whenever I want to have a little outdoor fun on multiple wheels. My advice to helmet-shunning rollerskating grownups is to gear up before going out, every single time. A guy I’m friends with once said that any person who tells you that helmeting up for any kind of skating is uncool is probably 12.

Skating Ability Also Influences Gearing-up Behavior

Skating experience also tends to influence gearing-up behavior appreciably. A beginner inline skater is more likely to wear a helmet because they’re not at a place where they can feel super confident about their skating skills.

But a person who’s been roller skating for a few years and who’s learned to fall safely may choose to skate unprotected because they feel confident enough.

Experience has its place in many areas of life, even in inline skating. And there’s data showing that experienced rollerskaters fall and get injured less often than inexperienced skaters. In  77 percent of all rollerskating injuries, the unlucky person involved lacks adequate skating experience.

So, it’d be rational to think that inexperienced inline skaters make trips to the Emergency Room more often than experienced skaters, right? That might be true, but when an experienced rollerskater falls, they tend to crash real bad. In fact, when an experienced skater takes a hard fall, the injury they sustain is two times more likely to necessitate surgery.

Skating Surface Quality May Also Influence Behaviour 

Some skaters won’t wear head protection when rolling over a flat, smooth surface. For example, it’s not common for skaters in a public skate session to wear a helmet.

But when skating over crappy asphalt full of nasty cracks or a dirt path with pebbles, even experienced inline skater know blading without proper protection is a bad idea.

Let’s now talk about something a little different but still related to the issue in question.

What’s the Best Rollerskating Helmet?

It’s a good idea to always put on adequate protective equipment when inline skating no matter what anyone might say. But what’s the best helmet for inline skating?

The best helmet for inline skating is a certified helmet. Whether you’re a beginner or an aggro-level skating pro, wear a brain bucket that’s properly certified.

A certified rollerskating helmet has passed a series of tough quality assurance tests performed by credible bodies such as the U.S. CPSC and ASTM. If a helmet comes properly certified, you’re certain it’ll provide decent protection when you need it the most.

But what safety certifications should a rollerskating helmet have? It depends on your skating ability. If you’re a recreational inline skater, a certified BMX helmet should be good enough for the job.

For a recreational rollerskating helmet, keep an eye out for these two nationally recognized safety certifications: the U.S. CPSC and the ASTM F2032. Note this isn’t my opinion. It’s the advice the Consumer Product Safety Commission gives.

What if you do aggro inline skating or are always jumping over sewers and pulling all kinds of gnarly rollerskating tricks? In that case, you need a helmet that’s certified for skateboarding use. Good skateboard helmets proudly wear the nationally recognized ASTMF1492 safety certification.

If you’re unsure about what helmet brand is the best, check out these Triple Eight helmet reviews. There’s a couple of ASTMF1492-approved skateboard helmets in that comprehensive review.

But wait, do you know your head shape? It’s crucial to figure out what head shape you have before you decide what helmet brand to choose. Learn how to determine your head shape here.

Final Thought On Whether to Helmet Up for Inline Skating

Some people don’t wear a helmet. Ever. It doesn’t matter whether they’re skating in a hockey roller rink in winter, skating indoors, cruising on a flat smooth surface, or doing tricks on the sidewalk. And that’s not a good idea.

Rollerskating falls are pretty common. And you won’t be skating much or at all with a busted brain. So, wear a good inline skating helmet.

Become that rollerskater who chooses to gear up regardless of what others think or say. Also, have your playful lovely kid wear certified head protection every time they step out of the house to inline-skate. And I bet finding a nice kids helmet with amazing graphics shouldn’t be that hard.