Hoverboard Injuries

1
They Don't Really Hover

hoverboard
Hoverboards have the potential to toss you on your butt. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Hoverboards got their name from how they feel. If you can ride one without breaking your neck (we'll talk about that in a minute) you are likely to feel like you're gliding above the floor a few inches high. People also stole the name from Back to the Future where they had actual hovering boards (well, they looked like actual hovering boards).

But these things don't really hover. They roll...powerfully. Standing on a rolling log sounds like a guaranteed way to end up on your butt, but some folks do ride them successfully and look pretty amazing while they're doing it.

I'm not that guy. Here are 4 reasons why I'll never try to ride a hoverboard.

2
Spontaneous Combustion

burned hoverboard
Hoverboards sometimes burst into flames or explode. Courtesy of the CPSC

The most dramatic danger of hoverboards is their tendency to burst into flames or even to explode. They've caused fires and burns.

As of the end of 2015, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) hadn't figured out what was causing hoverboards to spontaneously combust. It has to do with the batteries, but that's all they had at the time.

Until there's new information, one of the suggestions of the CPSC is to charge the hoverboard in a place where a fire cannot be started. I agree with that. The CPSC also suggests charging the hoverboard in a place where you can watch it. Presumably, this is in case it starts a fire, you'll be able to put it out quickly.

My issue with being in the same room while it charges is its tendency to explode. Some folks have been injured from flying debris when the hoverbomb blows up.

Charge it somewhere that it won't cause a fire and you won't lose an eye in the explosion. And, don't charge it right after it has been used (when it's still hot) or charge it and put it back in the packaging (such as for a gift--because it will still be hot).

3
Concussions

black eyes from head injury
Knocking your noggin can lead to brain injury.

Concussions are just one form of head injury and falling off a hoverboard doesn't discriminate between different types of head injury. However, a concussion is one of the worst case scenarios.

The CPSC suggestion: wear a helmet. I concur; a broken helmet is better than a broken head. Just like bikes and skateboards, some folks really don't like to wear safety gear. Get over it. It's better to look a little goofy than to forget where you live several times a day.

4
Spinal Injuries

man in cervical collar
Falling and hitting your head is one way to injure your neck. Keith Getter / Getty Images

Nothing like driving that thing right out from under your feet and cracking the back of your head on the coffee table. Your head is like a perfect lever to twist and pull your neck. Hitting your head on the way down is the quickest way to break your neck.

Modern medical treatment doesn't yet have a way to fix complete spinal cord separation. It's not that nerves can't repair themselves. It's kind of like splicing a giant telephone cable back together without being able to know which wires to connect.

Unfortunately, a helmet won't fix this problem and you can't run around wearing a cervical collar prophylactically. The best prevention for a cervical spine injury is not to ride a hoverboard in the first place. Either that, or get really good at it so you'll never fall.

5
Broken Bones

Broken wrist
That's why they call it "breaking" your fall. Tara Fontana

Nobody likes to slam your head on the ground (see slide #2). One way to avoid that is to put your hand down to break your fall. Of course, break your fall is exactly what you might do.

Wrist fractures are the most common significant skateboard injuries and I predict they will be the most common hoverboard injuries, too. That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of minor bumps and bruises, but those don't get reported like a broken bone does.

6
Bumps and Bruises

Wrist bruises
Bumps and bruises are the least of your worries. Sapphira Pixler

Finally, there are going to be bumps, bruises and scrapes. There might even be stitches in your future if you insist on riding a hoverboard--especially if you're old enough to buy alcohol legally (which, by the way, increases the potential for "hold my beer" to proceed any hoverboard injury).

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