Dirt biking dangers

  • Published
  • By Charles Listak
  • 53rd Test Management Group
My children enjoy riding off-road motorcycles. I ensure they wear all the necessary protective gear - helmets, goggles, boots, gloves, knee braces, elbow guards, chest protectors, kidney belts, and most importantly, neck braces.

One summer day, we were at the motocross track with a few friends. It was getting late and the track was about to close. Everyone except our group left so we had the entire track to ourselves.

One friend pulled out a camera and said something to the effect of "Now that everybody's gone, let's get some action shots!" (This was mistake number one.) My son decided to try the 'double-jump' he was afraid of until the camera appeared.

Over-confidence and insufficient speed resulted in a jolting impact on the second jump. He stayed upright for several seconds until he coasted to a stop and fell over.

When I arrived he said his arm hurt, so I carried him back to the truck and provided the 'dad' medical analysis (mistake number two), which meant looking at his arm and determining he was fine, except for a jammed wrist.

At home, my son complained to his mother about his arm. She over-reacted, in my initial opinion, and we went to the emergency room. It turned out he was hurt more than I thought, because after x-rays, he was put in a temporary cast.

We returned to the hospital the following day for fitting of a six-week cast. As we were about to leave, my son said, "Dad, my other arm hurts, too."

Repeating mistake number two (dad's medical analysis), I replied, "Don't worry about it, it'll feel better soon." The doctor overheard us and said he should x-ray the other arm. I said it was unnecessary (mistake number three - not trusting the medical professionals), but he insisted.

My son returned to the waiting room with a cast on his other arm and an 'I told you so' smirk on his face.

My lessons learned from that day at the track were: Don't push things when you're tired, especially on a hot summer day; when it comes to injuries, seek treatment; don't assume that being a dad makes you a medical expert; trust medical professionals for diagnosis and trust your wife for common sense.