Every roller girl knows about the importance of safety, we wear elbow pads, knee pads, helmets and even mouth guards. But what about other types of padding?
We are busy training and learning the correct skating stance, in the hope that we will fall forwards, be able to get up quickly and carry on. Even with all that, sometimes we just fall backwards on our bottoms! Especially if you are like me and still a little wobbly on your feet.
Having experienced a tail bone injury first hand, it is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone! Bus Journeys, TV watching and Lectures suddenly become a very uncomfortable experience for around 7 weeks!!! Ouch! So I decided to look for various types of tail bone protection, which you may have seen me skating in. Sadly, they aren’t incontinence pants – they protect my lovely behind when I fall over!
As you may have noticed, there aren’t very many Roller Derby specific shops when it comes to safety equipment. I started hunting round the snowboarding and aggressive skating sites. There are quite a few variates of padded shorts. However, these were mostly aimed at men, and designed to go under clothing like jeans or snow boarding pants, so they were quite long – like cycling shorts. Seeing as Derby uniforms can be a little skimpy, I was worried that these would show under our hot pants!
Eventually I narrowed my choices down to McDavid Roller Derby Shortie Pants Ass Gaskets – which are available from Sin City Skates for $49 or Azzpadz from Alpsgear for £44.99. The McDavid shorts looked great, as they were small enough to fit under my uniform, and were recommended by a company that is run by Roller Derby Girls. However, they were just padded with foam, mainly to protect you when you are doing slides and are sure enough on your feet not to fall backwards. I think I will upgrade to these once I have managed to learn to fall forwards, as the padding looks great for protecting against rink rash!
I picked the Azzpadz, as they are designed to fit under your shorts, and strap on a little like Lara Croft’s gun holsters. They have a hard plastic shell, which is padded on the inside – so a little like a knee pad for your bottom. I recommend getting a pair of shorts a size larger than you require in order to wear these Azzpadz, as currently mine don’t fit under my shorts. They still work over the top of your shorts, but to gain maximum benefit from the tail bone protection there is a little lip section that goes right under your tail bone, which doesn’t quite sit there correctly unless you are wearing something over the top of them. The waist band is adjustable, and the parts that strap round your legs have Velcro on, so these are also adjustable. But the main question is – what is it like to fall in them?!
After falling at speed backwards at training yesterday, I will try to describe what it is like. It still hurts – it’s going to – but the experience is a lot better! Those few seconds of sheer agony when you fall on your behind and you can’t physically move for fear of throwing up? Gone! I was back up on my feet and skating round as soon as I could. My bum is still a little sore today, as there is no protection for the fleshy part, but the main thing is – I haven’t bruised my tail bone. I don’t have to wince every time I sit down and forget I have injured it. I don’t have to sleep in a funny position to not nudge it in the night and wake myself up. I don’t have to sit side saddle on the bus and be fearful of speed bumps!
So all in all, well worth the money I spent on them. I will be buying some larger shorts though, so I can wear them under it – as I want to ensure I am wearing them correctly should I fall again.
Leah Botomi – happy owner of one less tail bone injury.