Motocross Sports and Youth: Too Much a Risk?

Motocross Accident

Recently in Utah, a young man at just the age of eight died after a motocross accident in Salt Lake City, Utah. The boy was in a late night race when he overshot a table top jump and hit a plywood deflection wall. He was wearing top of the line safety gear and had been riding since he was four years old.

SALT LAKE TRIBUNE: Boy, 8, dies in dirt bike accident

Personally, although I have never rode, I am a motocross fan having done first aid for motocross previously for two years.

After reading the article I happened to read the comments by other readers of the story, and was quite shocked when finding that most of them were negative.

Many of the posts stated that the parents were neglegent and that no child should be able to ride much less race a dirt bike. Safety was a major discussion of all the replies.

But how risky is the sport and is it worth the risk?

These parents will question that for the rest of their lives most likely, however we should not stop the sport because of one accident.

Accidents happen no matter what sport and activity you are involved with. Football, hockey, soccer…even bicycle riding has risks involved and kids have been seriously hurt or even died.

The main thing to remember in these higher risk sports is safety. Motocross and dirt bike riding has a lot of safety equipment involved with it and motocross racers are required to have them in order to compete. This young boy had all the safety equipment – a good helmet, neck brace, chest brace, etc. but the accident still happened and he unfortunately died. However many other motocross racers have overshot a jump and have come out of it just fine.

Another point mentioned was that eight year olds do not have the mind or motor skills in order to race in motocross. I would go as far as saying from my experience doing first aid and watching motocross that the young racers are more safe then the older racers. The young racers do not want to get hurt and are careful in what they do, although they still want to compete. That is a thinking age. A lot of the teenager and adult racers are more competitive then the youth and are out there just trying to pass finish first.

Doing first aid, I think we have treated more adults then youth and have had more adults seriously injured then youth.

We need to remind ourselves to pop that bubble we are placing around children, let them explore the world. Kids get hurt, it is a fact of life. You may not think motocross is the best activity for your child – and you may be right for YOUR child – but for some children it is the perfect activity for them. Remember getting your first bike? Or your drivers license? There is a certain amount of freedom with that and the same goes for dirt bike riding and motocross. Some kids crave that.

When thinking about how dangerous the sport is, think of the local neighbourhood child who is on his bike, going over man-made jumps, other objects, the likes. This is dangerous and could even kill…but many parents don’t say anthing and just say it is a port of growing up.

Don’t keep your child in a protective bubble. Let him try things and explore them if he or she is interested.

Keeping them from doing something in many cases just leads them to wanting to do it more and might make them find alternatives.

I end this post saying rest in peace to the young racer, Logan Emerson of Sandy, Utah. You are now racing the big race in the sky. I may have not known you personally, but as a motocross fan – you are part of the large community.


27 Responses to “Motocross Sports and Youth: Too Much a Risk?”

  1. 1 Matt June 25, 2009 at 9:42 PM

    I agree.
    I read those comments on the original news post and it was ridiculous.

  2. 2 Phil June 26, 2009 at 5:39 AM

    Though Motocross is a dangerous sport,I agree that so is Hockey, Football and any other contact sport. My son races ATV’s and I always remind him to ride at his own skill level and don’t try to do things that other kids are doing. Does he ride fast? Yes. Does he know his own limits? Yes. Safety is always our number one factor anytime he rides whether it be in the yard or at the track.

    Atheletes die all too often, whether it be a football player left paralyzed after a grueling hit or a baseball pitcher taking a comeback hit off a bat. Sad as it is any contact sport is dangerous as kids and adults alike are bigger, faster and stronger than any generation before them.

    Extreme Sports are bigger and more popular these days as Baseball, Football and even Basketball have turned into a business rather than a fun activity. With all of the turmoil with steroids, drugs and corruption who’s to blame a child to want to ride a dirt bike or ATV?

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Emerson family at this difficult time. God Bless!

  3. 3 David June 26, 2009 at 9:38 AM

    I think its pretty ridiculous for parents to say kids shouldn’t race motocross, because of them getting hurt and what not. I was in the hospital when i ruptured my spleen a few years ago and i almost died because i lost too much blood, so all the ER doctors and nurses were looking at my mom like she was a bad parent for not making me quit motocross. As long as you have the best safety equipment you can get, that all the protection you can have, its always bad to see accidents like this happen. But if my mom made me quit i dont know what i would be doing right now, because i dont like other sports really, motocross can keep kids out of trouble, im glad i have parents that understand my goals and everything. Now im getting ready to turn pro and have offers from some great teams, so i am very thankful for everything thats happened to me and god just has his plan for all if us, when it your time, it just your time to go.

    Rest in peace buddy were all praying for you and your family

  4. 4 Kristin June 26, 2009 at 10:31 AM

    I want to know whose idea it was to put up a plywood wall. Obviously the track was not completely safe because no one foresaw the possibility of someone hitting that wall at a high rate of speed. My son is 7 yrs. old and has been riding a dirt bike for over 1 yr. and begs me to race. But I told him we first have to buy all of the necessary safety equipment. My heart goes out to the boy’s family because I’m sure they loved seeing the joy on his face that racing brought to him. He died doing something he loved.

  5. 5 Mike July 8, 2009 at 10:06 AM

    I totally agree. Youngsters are hurt in all sorts of sports, most namely football and I don’t see there being a push to keep them from playing. It sounds like his parents did everything they could to keep him safe. I’m like Kristen here, and wonder why there was a plywood wall around the course.

    Perhaps more care should be given to the design and preparations made for races rather than pointing the finger at the children and their capacity to make safe choices and the parents of the children who compete.

    My thoughts go out to his family.

  6. 6 kylee November 23, 2009 at 9:06 PM

    Logan went to my babysitters and tought me too rollerblade and how to be a good friend. The day before he died i got off he school bus and said good bye and i guess that was it the final good bye. I miss Logan alot and wish he was still here bless the Emerson family.

  7. 7 eightysixisback September 21, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    when is the last time an 8 year old died playing football? Kids get hurt in all sports but there is a lot more potential for injury in motocross. its your decision to put your kid in motocross and i am not arguing that but be realistic. injuries in most sports for 8 year olds are not serious and though they do happen occasionally in other sports its more of a fluke thing. an 8 year old in motocross is a hell of a lot more likely to be seriously injured than an 8 year old playing football with other 8 year olds.

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