PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — With hoverboard injuries mounting, new legislation will be introduced at Philadelphia City Council on Thursday, requiring children to wear protective gear. Hoverboards were popular Christmas gifts and doctors say there was a spike in injuries right after the holiday.
While most were bruises and broken bones, one Philadelphia man suffered a devastating brain injury.
At 40, Mike Keller is learning to walk again with the help of a cane as his brain slowly recovers.
“They had to cut a hole in my head,” Mike explained.
Mike, who lives in Prospect Park with his wife and daughters, had a blood clot in his brain and serious swelling after falling off a friend’s hoverboard the day after Christmas. “My two daughters were almost fatherless, my wife almost husband-less, my mom and dad almost lost a son which is very, very difficult for me,” Mike said.
The motorized skateboards were a popular holiday gift, but there have been a growing number of problems; some with boards catching fire, but mostly related to people falling off. Even former boxer Mike Tyson took a nasty fall off a hoverboard.
“These injuries have just been flying off the shelves with the hoverboards. They’re dangerous devices, ” said Dr. Kevin Judy, a neurosurgeon at Jefferson University Hospital. He operated on Mike and says he’s lucky. “The morning of surgery, he looked like he was going very south on us and I had to call the operating room and we did him urgently,” Dr. Judy recalled.
Mike’s wife Sharon and the family held a three-week vigil at the hospital where Mike slowly came back to life. He had to relearn everything. “It was awful, it was tough, and it was hard just to see him not talk, not sit up,” Sharon said.
He doesn’t remember much, but is reminded by reading all the cards that poured in. Now facing a three month recovery, Mike is on a mission to warn others. He’s especially worried about kids on hoverboards without helmets.
“As long as I can just touch one person, one parent to have their kid realize that it’s not a game. It’s not just something easy. It’s something that can affect you and almost destroy your whole life,” Mike said.
Mike and Sharon were happy to hear that new hoverboard legislation is being proposed in Philadelphia that would mandate helmets and other protective gear for children under age 12. Adult caretakers who don’t enforce that would face fines up to $300.