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Lil Wayne accident: Why skateboarders should wear helmets

Lil Wayne accident: Rap star Lil Wayne fell and hurt his head while skateboarding. Is Lil Wayne now Exhibit A for wearing a helmet while skateboarding?

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Lil Wayne has won multiple Grammy Awards for his rap music. He also likes to skateboard, and recently hurt his head doing so. For the sake of his fans, he should wear a helmet.

Danny Moloshok/Reuters/File

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Grammy Award-winning rap star Lil Wayne fell during a skateboarding accident at a skate park in St. Louis on Aug. 21, where he was in town to rap at the city’s outdoor Verizon amphiteather. No word on whether he was trying to “stunt,” (slang for “show off”), or was just practicing a new trick.

After the fall, he tweeted, “The Lou was good but I busted my head at the sk8park! 9stitches! Gnarly gash over my eye!” The top-selling New Orleans rapper followed that tweet with, "Thx to u all for the concern but pls know that I will eventually take even harder falls if I wanna get better.”

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Mr. Wayne, who is an avid sports fan and has appeared on and written blogs for ESPN, hit the nail on the head. The more difficult the skateboarding tricks are inherently more dangerous, which is why many skateboard pros wear helmets.

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Skateboarding injuries cause about 50,000 visits to emergency rooms each year in the United States, and 1,500 children and adolescents are hospitalized. Helmets and other protective gear are recommended, especially for skaters that do tricks.

Like motorcycle and bicycle helmet laws, skateboard helmet laws vary by state, but most are aimed at minors. In New York, for example, skateboarders under the age of 14 must wear a helmet. California requires any skateboarder under the age of 18 to wear a helmet. And some municipal skate parks require all skateboarders to use a helmet.

At the 100th anniversary of the NAACP, President Obama encouraged families to focus on education, sayings, “Our kids can’t all aspire to be Le Bron or Lil Wayne.” But since he is a role model, Lil Wayne could set example for children if he wore a helmet.