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I like to skateboard fairly regularly and am also an avid watcher of the sport. Earlier I was watching this video where a skateboarder tears his MCL on a landing down an enormous drop. However, after he recovers, he is able to land the mind-boggling ollie down a 25 stair.

This got me thinking about the forces at play during skating, in particular how forward momentum affects the impact felt by the body when landing. I personally know that when you have speed going stairs vs. just enough to clear it, the impact seems to be mitigated substantially.

What are the mechanisms at play here? Is it simply that because the force is not applied completely vertical that it feels as if less force is being absorbed?

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Everything on Earth (ignoring air resistance) falls at nearly ten meters per second squared, whether it is moving forward or not. In projectile trajectories the horizontal motion can be calculated separately from the vertical motion. The skate boarder looks like he had a bad landing when the board broke. It also looked as though he may have clipped the bottom of the stairs. If you have a good flat landing, with your knees bent slightly to absorb the impact shock, you are much less likely to be injured.

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