Originally Posted by Squawker
The greatest danger to these kids' spines/kidneys etc is not what they do to themselves, but what can happen if they fall in the course and get hit by the next little ripper through the gates. That was my main motivation for insisting on a back protector. Pretty much all our youngsters have them.
Its probably just as well too, because the first thing they do when training is finished is to hit the biggest kickers in the park!
I'm not a fan of back protectors for kids that young. It can be hard to get a good fit, and they seem to inhibit movement in young kids, which is not good for their development at that stage. I don't start looking at back protection until about 2nd year K1 (12 years old) when the kids are starting to actively hit gates.
Even then, it's not an automatic choice (like shin guards & pole guards). I'm putting more effort into getting more kids using mouth guards for concussion protection, which I think is an even more important area to be concerned with.
Interesting point about protection against collisions in a race course, but I have to admit, if I saw that scenario about to happen, my first response would be to rip the race organizers apart for such a fundamental lapse in basic safety.
You might have a point about protection in the park -- protection from falling back onto box or rail features. However, I think avoidance of those features is better protection at that age.
Like your ski suggestions.