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Category Archives: Contributed

August 12, 2016 9:09 pm

BMX David Mirra’s Suicide a Poignant Reminder That Extreme Athletes Suffer From Mental Health Issues

medicineAlmost half — 48.5% — of Americans have used at least one prescription drug within the past month. But when it comes to extreme sport athletes, they most likely are on a full medication regime due to the injuries sustained from their dangerous sport.

It is no secret that extreme sports, like skiing, snowboarding, and skateboarding, come with many risks. While the athletes do heart-stopping tricks that quickly go viral online, many don’t understand the severe health repercussions that come with those twists and turns.

Back in 2013, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System complied data from extreme sports injuries between 2000 and 2011. The head researcher, Dr. Vani J. Sabesan, studied the impact of head injuries within the sport.

In the first ever study of its kind, Sabesan found that more than 40,000 dangerous head injuries happen to athletes annually in seven different extreme sports. Motocross, snowboarding, mountain biking, and skateboarding were all included.

As reported in The New York Times, this study shows that skateboarding caused the most head and neck injuries, coming in at a total of 129,000 within the study’s 11 years. Snowboarding had about 97,000 injuries, skiers experienced more than 83,000, and motocross drew more than 78,000.

Sabesan believes that these injuries pose an extreme health risk because many athletes don’t understand the long-term health consequences that come with these injuries.

Take BMX legend Dave Mirra for example.

This extreme athlete excelled at his sport, but quickly succumbed to heavy drug use and depression as a result of previous head injuries.

Mirra died from a self-inflicted shot to the head. His family has recently come forward explaining his struggle with depression before he died, and in doing so they hope to warn other athletes about the mental health dangers that can come with the sport.

It happened suddenly. Mirra was spending time at a friends house when he excused himself to go outside. When his friend went to search for him a few minutes later, they found him dead in the driveway with a gun in his right hand.

While toxicology reports show Mirra did not have any drugs in the system at the time of his death, a trace amount of alcohol was reported in his bloodstream.

According to the medical examiner, Mirra’s body was covered with scars from previous injuries, with five on his head alone.

August 12, 2016 7:43 pm

Lane Splitting Soon to Become Protected Under California Law

Riding between cars — a practice that’s been allowed but never officially regulated — spares countless bikers many wasted hours sitting on traffic laden freeways, and thanks to new California legislation, it will soon be legalized.

Although motorcyclists have been using this practice for years, there have been no official regulations regarding it.

The bill, AB-51, has passed in the Assembly in a 69-0 vote and is on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk waiting for his signature.

Originally, the bill stated that a motorcyclist has to be riding at a speed of 50 mph and no more than 15 mph faster than traffic while lane splitting, but those regulations were removed after several motorcycle groups claimed they were too low.

The CHP set several regulations a few years ago, but those regulations were removed because of claims that the department was making laws outside of the legislation process.

Now, the bill sets forth more general definitions and leaves it to the CHP to define specific regulations.

In the meantime, Jon Sloat, an officer in the the Sonoma County CHP office said he has not yet received word from Sacramento on what the specific guidelines will be.

There is currently no law that explicitly prohibits motorcycles from occupying the same lane as cars, Sloat said. However, riders often receive tickets for things like unsafe passing and lane splitting, practices that have resulted in multiple local traffic accidents and deaths.

Sloat said that lane splitting can be done safely if motorcyclists pay attention to their surroundings and abide by all other traffic laws, but he also stressed the importance of car drivers being mindful of cyclists on the road.

“We always urge motorists to be aware of their surroundings and to watch out for motorcycles,” he said. “Even police motorcycles with lights and sirens on sometimes get hit.”

While the legislation is in the works, potential motorcycle buyers should still exercise caution before purchasing a bike.

The average consumer visits about three stores before making a purchase, but thanks to the new California legislation, a few more might be shopping for motorcycles. However, there are a few things that new motorcyclists should be keeping in mind before buying.

While it’s easy to want the most powerful bike on the market, it’s not always the best idea. It’s recommended that new cyclists should buy a bike within their riding abilities and desired use. If you’re looking for a simple vehicle to get from A to B, you don’t need a speed demon.

In addition to a motorcycle, safety equipment should be in the shopping cart. You may not want to overdo the bike itself, but it’s extremely important to have all of the safety equipment that you might need.

However, even safety experts agree that riding a motorcycle is an experience that should be enjoyed. Being safe, knowledgeable, and aware of the road at all times is important, but so is enjoying the experience.

New and experienced bikers alike will certainly be enjoying the road in California a little bit more with the new legislation.

“I’m all about it,” said Eli Simmonds, a Sonoma State University student and Southern California native.


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