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Hoverboard Craze Leads to More Broken Bones

While much attention has been paid to hoverboards that have burst into flames, a more common result is a fall leading to broken bones. (hovershop.com)

While much attention has been paid to hoverboards that have burst into flames, a more common result is a fall leading to broken bones. (hovershop.com)
January 29, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The "cool factor" certainly surrounds the hoverboard fad, but while the Internet was quickly filled with videos of hoverboards catching fire, some also show people falling off the devices - and hospital emergency rooms have been filled with patients who suffered injuries in those falls.

"A number of people would not want to get on a skateboard, because they think, 'Oh, that's kind of tricky and I may not be coordinated,' " said Dr. Dale Elizabeth Jarka, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Children's Mercy Hospital and Clinics in Kansas City. "But they think, 'Oh, a hoverboard, it just rolls.' So, I think we're getting people who may not be the most coordinated who are trying these things out."

Jarka said the most common injuries she has seen are to upper extremities from people falling onto their outstretched hands. She says the injuries from hoverboard incidents are similar to those sustained by athletes and children who try to brace themselves during a fall.

"We see a number of athletes who fall on the outstretched hand. We see young children, in particular, falling off monkey bars or playground equipment, falling on the outstretched hand," she said. "So, I don't think the type of injury is really that different. It's just kind of a novel mechanism of injury."

She said children tend to recover from these injuries more quickly than adults.

The popularity of hoverboards led to an increase in emergency-room visits over the holidays, Jarka said.

"There is a spike, largely because of the novelty of it, and I was on call over the four days surrounding Christmas, and we saw a spike of them - because they probably got them as Christmas gifts," she said. "After Christmas, we started to get into some snowy weather, so they couldn't be using them outside."

With the weekend weather forecast to be unseasonably warm, she said, she's prepared for another spike during her time "on call" this weekend.

Jeff Stein, Public News Service - MO