After an eventful night in A&E, she has some tips to share with all you newbie and potential skaters to help you avoid the double-black-eye-and-bumpy-head scenario.
Take it away, Sarah!
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Roller derby teams are a group of extremely passionate and loving people, we all love each other very much, we want to hit each other and leave derby kisses but we never want to see a fellow teamy or our derby wives hurt. Injuries are always going to be inevitable in this type of sport but the teams will do everything and follow every protocol they can and more to minimise the chances of a serious injury. The rest is up to you and your protective gear. Super super important stuff coming:
To even consider taking your first tentative pre min steps in roller derby you need the following:
- Nice big squishy protecty knee pads, the bigger the better, do you feel like a robot waddling in them? Good! You should! You’re going to be spending a lot of time falling on your knees and hard, so you want something nice and comfy to fall on to!
- Elbow pads and wrist guards. These don’t need to be as squishy and big as your knee pads and it’s less likely you’ll fall on these, particularly your elbows. But if you do fall you’re pretty likely to put your hands out to shop you, and you don’t want to be scraping or cracking or doing anything nasty to your wrists, breakages mean you can’t train for a long time and no one likes sitting out!
- Mouth guard. You’re going to be smiling a hell of a lot at roller derby because it’s fun and your team mates are super awesome and will make you laugh, so protect that mouth and your lovely teeth! It’s not uncommon to take an unfortunate accidental elbow to the face and if you fall you don’t want to hit your mouth at high speed believe me. So don’t even think about skating without a mouth guard, they may look silly and your S’s sound funny but they’re incredibly worth it. Mouldable mouth guards are the best for roller derby as they allow you drink and talk almost normally, they’re also a lot more comfortable as you don’t need to bite down to keep them in. Look for a SISU mouth guard or similar. They rock.
So what could I have done to avoid this problem? Ultimately not ignored the problem with my helmet of course. This photo was taken at the beginning of the training session before it happened. The key thing you should note is that you can see an awful lot of forehead. There should be no more than 2 fingers width between your eyebrows and the helmet. It should be tight and not wobble side to side or back to front.
I am a cautionary tale, I came out with a couple of shiners, a cracked nose, swollen head and a concussion but I am beyond lucky. Head injuries are no joke and it could have been a lot worse. I caused a lot of distress to my wonderful team members who cared for me and feared for me. I’m a very lucky girl to have not been injured further and to have a wonderful network of amazing people behind me to look after me. Now I’m off skates helping out, missing out on training and very black and blue all because I ‘couldn’t be bothered’ to get a new helmet. Take heed skating lovelies and don’t make the same mistakes as me!
Keep rolling and being awesome to each other!