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Old 07-31-2012, 11:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
ohm
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Default How to fall

I've been snowboarding for about three or four seasons (going maybe 3-5 times a season), so I have the basics down. I can carve a hill pretty decently and am comfortable doing most runs, bar the most experienced. This last winter, I started to try freestyle riding, going off a few jumps and just getting my board off the ground for the first time. I didn't take any lessons from instructors or even friends, maybe the occasional tip, so needless to say I was pretty awful. Anyway, towards the end of the season I ended up going off a jump funky (I bailed at the last second because I felt like I had too much speed) and I found myself falling forward in the air. I landed awkwardly and ended up breaking my left collar bone pretty bad. I don't exactly remember how I landed because it all happened so fast. I've been looking up how to fall correctly and a lot of sites/guides say that wrist injuries are very common. I've never had a problem with that since I always use my forearms to break the landing when falling forward. I guess my question is: is it common to break a collar bone when falling? And if so how can this be prevented?
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Old 08-01-2012, 12:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Here's a decent video to give you the basics:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPQMRLl14cM

I had a friend in high school who broke his collar bone, he was trying to do a frontflip (way beyond his skill level) and landed on his shoulder, it's more common than you'd think.

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Old 08-01-2012, 12:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I've never had a problem with that since I always use my forearms to break the landing when falling forward.?
This, wouldn't really recommend it. It's better than sticking the hands straight out but you can still fuck up your arms. In comparison to your body mass, limbs are a weak point.

In the situation you described it's hard to fall the "ideal" way because you are out of balance and just holding on for dear life. The way you fell it sounds like you impacted the ground directly on the corner of your shoulder which can potentially snap a collarbone.

Best way to fall IMO is to let your body (not limbs) take the hit. Be a plank. Keep yourself tucked when you impact, but also have your muscles be somewhat loose. Don't tense up on impact, it just increases damage to the impact zone. The idea is to sort of be like a ragdoll, and "flop" as much as possible when you land.

The science behind this is that if an object can keep moving after impact it spreads the stress out over a longer period of time, resulting in less damage. As I said before though you cannot control all falls and some do just end in the dead-stop-slam which will do the most damage.

And just as a note, the most often time people get injured is when they bail last second out of something. If you commit and crash, you will at least be somewhat in control and be able to avoid the "oh shit flail". <--- that thing is awful since you can't really influence or dictate how you land once you are trapped in it.
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I've been looking up how to fall correctly and a lot of sites/guides say that wrist injuries are very common. I've never had a problem with that since I always use my forearms to break the landing when falling forward.
I sprained both wrists learning to do a front 3 off a jump. Made the next few weeks of work bunches of fun! Lol.
Putting your hands out to catch yourself is a rather natural reaction when falling. Putting out your elbows will jam your shoulders instead of your wrists (altho putting your hands out with stiff arms will also, one of these are probably what happened to you). You need to retrain yourself on how you fall. You need to roll with your falls to lessen the blow and try not to stick body parts out to stop your momentum. Sometimes it's hard to controll with how fast everything is moving and the bigger/faster you go its going to hurt reguardless. Watching pro street skateboarders is an amazing show of how to fall properly. Skateboarders who wear pads tend to slide them instead. My cousin is a police officer and even they take a training course in falling propperly if they are thrown or pushed or whatever may happen to them.
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
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If it's off a jump it's hard, but try to tuck your arms and shoulder and roll it out. Just like parkour. Disperse the energy.
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Old 08-01-2012, 04:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If it's off a jump it's hard, but try to tuck your arms and shoulder and roll it out. Just like parkour. Disperse the energy.
There was no way I could have rolled. I would have landed straight on my neck if I tried that.
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Old 08-01-2012, 04:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Not like in the air. Like when you land roll after you hit the ground. It's a lot harder off a jump. The main idea is to disperse the energy. That means slowing down slowly, not quickly. That's what causes injury.
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Old 08-01-2012, 05:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The idea of controlling an uncontrolled crash in a specific way is kind of bogus. First, no two crashes are created equal. The right answer in one situation is not always the right answer in another. As anecdotal evidence, I went to roll out of a terrible launch off of a hip (a tiny one too... maybe 5') and because of my landing angle, I ended up breaking my collarbone. Second, if you're in the kind of situation in which you're about to be injured, it's pretty unlikely that you'll have time to rationally think about what the right answer is. Usually the thought process is something like "oh shi--*SMASH*." If you've trained yourself to always throw yourself into a roll when you hit one of those "oh shi--" moments, what happens when that's the wrong answer?

Everybody always says not to use your hands on a landing, but you just don't always have a choice. I was watching a crash edit from last season a couple weeks ago (Session 4, 2012: Crash on Vimeo for reference) and those guys are pretty talented, certainly not complete newbies, and nearly every time they bite it, their hands go straight down to catch themselves. If they can't manage to avoid wrist impact, what chance does someone have who just barely has enough control to make it down the mountain?

Anyway, my point is that the best answer (in my opinion) is to armor way the hell up and not try to focus on crashing in one specific way. If the parts of your body that you'd naturally use to protect yourself are tougher and less prone to injury, that leaves you with more options in a fall. With some beefy wristguards (I like Flexmeters) it becomes much less likely that you'll break any delicate wrist bones, and turns your hands into usable tools. If you want to go farther you can get pretty much anything else armored up as well.
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Old 08-01-2012, 07:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I wouldn't get wrist guards. They just move the energy to your arm and break that instead of your wrists. Another tip is too relax. The more relaxed you are the less injured you will get. I know it sounds dumb, but it's more about being relaxed when you are doing the trick. If you do that then you will be more relaxed when you fall.

This is all if you can though. Things happen and you have natural reactions. These things really only help once you have mastered the park and by that time falling won't be a big concern. These are tips I use when I bomb and catch and edge and fall. I fell going 50mph and rolled it out and didn't feel a thing. Just had to find my hat.

Best advice? Don't fall. That or get pads, but for me they just make you less flexible and heavier.
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It has never been true for any modern wristguards that they simply move the break. There were two documented cases of extremely primitive rollerblading wristguards where they broke their arm further up, but no causality was ever actually established. Modern, well designed wristguards dissipate a ridiculous amount of force, the one I linked is one of the most effective, but is fairly bulky. Others are maybe not as effective, but more streamlined.

Wrist guards for snowboarders - www.ski-injury.com - Ski Injury
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