Young People Are Participating in New Extreme Sports Involving Cars -- and Sometimes Death

5:25 AM, Oct 17, 2010   |    comments
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(CBS)  The videos are littered across YouTube. Teens "car surfing" on top of cars, "ghost riding" with no one behind the wheel and "skitching" - riding a skateboard pulled by a moving vehicle. These are a variety of terms for a wide range of dangerous and potentially deadly activities, reports CBS News correspondent Susan Koeppen.

"An injury even at those slow speeds can result in significant neurologic disability and even death," said neurologist Dr. Alan R. Cohen.

According to a CDC report between 1990 and 2008, 58 people died in car surfing accidents alone. Another 41 were injured.

Injuries and deaths from ghost riding and skitching have never been counted, so the numbers are likely far worse.

"It feels like I'm in a dream," said Craig Doolittle, whose son died in a skitching accident. "I can't believe this has happened."

Doolittle's son Cody from Ojai, Calif., lost control of his skateboard after hitching a ride on the back of his friend's SUV in Aug.

"He pendulumed," said Doolittle. "The skateboard went forward and he just swung down and cracked his head open."

Cody Doolittle, 18, died at the hospital later that day.

"It's pretty traumatic seeing your own son in that kind of a demise," said Doolittle. "As a fireman we try to help people and to fix things, and I couldn't fix him."

Caleb Potter, 28, from Cape Cod, Mass. was more fortunate. He survived his accident, but suffered severe injuries.

"It was a mess, a mother's nightmare," said Sharyn Lindsay, Potter's mother.

Caleb was hospitalized for six months. Blind in one eye, deaf in one ear and with a traumatic brain injury that has left him a shell of his former self.

"We miss our son, the way he was before," said Lindsay.

Potter misses his life. "Before I was sick and messed up," said Potter. "Much better to feel healthy and happy."

"There has to be more education out there to reach kids in this age bracket to let them know that it's not a joke," said Lindsay.

Caleb's mother Sharyn now works to raise awareness to keep other families from suffering a similar tragedy.


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