Should sledding be brought to an icy halt?

Jordan Bierbrauer Opinion Editor

As March begins, it is apparent that the world is getting closer and closer to not worrying about having to bundle up when they go outside (even though for South Dakota, this may not be the case). Yes, winter, as cold as it may be still, is slowly coming to an end, and with the end of winter, comes the end of a beloved winter activity: sledding.

I know that I have my fair share of memories about sledding, and it would probably not be a long shot to say that many of us at SDSU have fond memories of sledding as well, but as of recently, some cities across the United States have started banning and restricting sledding within the city.

Some may ask why a city would restrict a child from creating such fun memories, but looking into it further, one can see that cities are simply trying to protect their residents. No matter how fun sledding can be, it can also be very painful. Over the course of a decade, some 20,000 youths have slid into an emergency room due to some injury that occurred while they were out shredding snow covered hills according to a study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Some injuries that people have acquired while sledding have been severe enough to the point where a lawsuit gets involved.

Moving past all the statistics and lawsuits about why sledding is being banned in cities throughout the United States, one can actually see what is going on: cities within the United States fear lawsuits; thus, are trying to eliminate any factors that could induce a lawsuit.

Now I am not saying that I have never been hurt while sledding, or that I have not seen one of my siblings get hurt while sledding, but I would argue that it kind of comes along with the experience of it. I recall countless times going home after a long day of sledding with a sore bottom because I would go off of too many man-made jumps and land on a nice patch of ice (or blacktop in some instances), but these experiences involving pain never turned me off from the idea of going sledding. I mean, let us face it, little kids are durable. They get wrapped up in the fun that they are having, and do not have time to pay attention to any pain they experience. I have seen kids run face first into a wall, and get right back up and go.

It is a rare occurrence that a sledding accident actually put someone in the hospital, and despite 20,000 being a large number, that is over a course of a decade in a country of about 300 million people. 

So what do I say about cities wanting to ban sledding because of potential lawsuits? I say that it is ridiculous to assume that people will get severely injured while sledding. I think that cities should just let kids be kids, and to let them endure all the bumps and scratches that come along with being a kid. True, injuries have a chance of happening, but that is no reason to take away everyone’s fun. Allow kids (and adults) to hit the hills on a snow day, and to have their fun while it lasts.

Jordan Bierbrauer is a psychology major and can be reached at [email protected].