Should Snowboarders Wear Wrist Guards? - Join the Debate
Calling all snowboarders: Do you wear wrist guards?
Snowboarding wrist guards seem to be an ongoing debate with no clear answer. Read one article and it will tell you only beginners need them as they don't yet now how to fall. Another article will tell you that wrist guards are important for racers or park riders. And if you look hard enough you can find information telling you it is the intermediates that need wrist guards, the riders that are confident long before they should be.
Maybe they all should wear wrist guards. Maybe no one should. The purpose of this page is to ask you, the snowboarder what you do. Wrist guards or not?
My motivation, on the day I wrote the first draft of this page I was at a New Zealand ski slope, and I watched a 12 year old rider break his wrist and in less than an hour he was joined by an Olympic snowboarder. Both of these athletes were treated by ski patrol for their freshly broken wrists.
This begs the question, should snowboarders wear wrist guards? There are compelling arguments on both sides. Some say they prevent serious injuries, others say they simply protect the joint therefore shifting the break higher up the arm. Those in favor of using the safety gear will add that the wrist is far more complex than the forearm, therefore more difficult to repair.
Are snowboarding wrist guards important?
More importantly, do you use them when you are out on the snow - always, sometimes, not anymore or never?
Do you wear wrist guards when you snowboard?
Falling Correctly is Part of the Secret
Take a look at the photo. The snowboarder is a solid rider who used to also practice judo, so she should know how to fall. However, with feet bound in place, instinct takes over and look at how the snowboarder puts down her hand (Luckily there was no snap).
This Snowboarder Looks Like He Knows How to Fall to Protect his Wrists
This Snowboarder Looks Like He Landed Wrong on his Wrists
What About This Snowboarder:
Do you think he broke a wrist?
Did He Fall Correctly?
Vote on the photo just above
Do you think he fell on his wrist?
Statistics on Snowboarding and Wrist Guards
How important is it to protect your wrists while snowboarding?
From the Scottish Snow Sports Safety Study:
- 25% of all snowboard injuries affect the wrist joint
- 70% of all snowboard related wrist injuries were fractures (broken bones)
- There are an estimated 95,000 wrist fractures each year among snowboarders worldwide.
From the Colorado Snowboard Injury Survey:
- Snowboarders wearing wrist guards are half as likely to injure their wrists as snowboarders not wearing them.
So the choice is obvious, all snowboarders wear this safety gear, right?
Wrong, worldwide, only about 10% of snowboarders wear them. To the non-athlete, this may not make any sense at all, but snowboarders have definite opinions on this topic. Many will offer strong arguments not to wear the wrist guards. Many who start out wearing them, stop at some point. Let's see what you think . . .
Our Favorite Snowboarding Wrist Guards
There are lots of wrist guards on the market. The main thing to look for is a snug fit. These are the ones we used successfully for years.
Tell Us What You Really Think:
What's Your View on Snowboarding Wrist Guards?
Snowboarders, here is your chance to tell us why you do or do not choose to wear wrist protection on the snow:
Snowboarders Should Wear Wrist Guards
Yes, I agree, snowboarders should wear wrist guards because . . .
Featured Comment from Mark H
"I've been wearing wrist guards for over 13 years snowboarding, it took one instance where I forgot to put my wrist guards back on, and I shattered my wrist and broke my radius and ulna. Now I have a permanent reminder with a nice scare and titanium plate in my arm. I hope everyone, every parent who has a child start out in snowboarding makes it mandatory."
Watch This Guy Break His Wrist - *Be warned, and don't watch if it will upset you.
© 2009 Rhonda Albom