|But wearing protective gear does not guarantee protection from
injury if the skater does not know the proper techniques for starting, stopping, breaking
a fall and maintaining balance.
Doctors across the country say injuries have increased
since last year as more people buy the skates. Sales have more than doubled from about
$21.3 million in 1989 to $53.3 million in 1990, according to the National Sport Goods
Since February, about 65 skaters have been treated at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan,
said Dr. Mayer Glosser, an emergency service physician who has been keeping track of
blading injuries. The injuries have included minor scrapes and bruises, dislocated elbows
and sprained or broken wrists. Some required surgery and caused permanent damage.
Many stores that sell skates also offer lessons. In New York City, Peck and Goodie, 917
Eighth Avenue; between 54th and 55th Streets, offers one-hour lessons for $5. Blades West,
105.. West 72d Street at Columbus Avenue, offers free impromptu lessons when skates are
rented. Joel RappeIfeld, a blading instructor for four years, offers more intensive
lessons through the store, giving two hour group lessons for $21 and private l-1/2 hour
lessons for $40,
In San Francisco, the Golden Gate Park Patrol offers free one-hour lessons on Sundays.
On Saturdays the Outdoor Roller Skating Association of America gives private lessons for
$20, which includes skate rental, or $15 if you bring your own skates,
"Most people don't take advantage of the lessons," said Mr. RappeIfeld, the
author of "The Complete Blader," which is to be published in the fall by St.
Martin's Press. "They say. 'I'll try it first, then I'll take a lesson, maybe."
If you want to try blading, the experts suggest, the price of a lesson may be worth the
safety it provides.