Youth skateboarders were encouraged to ride safely when they were supplied with free helmets at the popular Venice Beach Skate Park March 26.

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl and his staff worked with professional skateboarder Jesse Martinez and local vendor S-One Helmets to offer two dozen protective helmets to skaters at the beachfront venue. Martinez of the Venice Skateboard Association and Rosendahl were influential in bringing the skate park to Venice.

The event was held to draw attention to the rising risk of head injuries from skaters failing to wear helmets and coincided with Brain Injury Awareness Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control, U.S. emergency departments annually treat approximately 135,000 sports and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, among children 5 to 18 years of age.

Rosendahl said that since the skate park opened, he has had some concerns about the safety of kids riding in the bowls without a helmet. He hopes to spread the message that in addition to safety benefits, wearing a helmet can be “cool.”

“This is the iconic skateboard park in America and I want kids to feel it is the safe thing and cool thing to do to wear a helmet,” Rosendahl said.

Venice resident Margaret Heron, whose son died from head injuries suffered at a skate park in the Phoenix area, was also on hand at the event to urge skaters to wear protective gear.