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UPDATE: Teenager dies of injuries from skateboarding accident

A 16-year-old skateboarder died from injuries suffered from an April 30 skateboarding accident, according to Loudoun County Sheriff spokesman Kraig Troxell.

The teen, identified as Shashwat Sharma, was a junior at Broad Run High School and active in debate, according to Loudoun County Public Schools Public Information Officer Wayde Byard. According to initial reports, the teen was skating near his home in the 44200 block of Suscon Square in Ashburn at about 3:20 p.m. when the accident occurred. He was not wearing a helmet.

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office performed an assist rescue during the incident, and the teen was airlifted to Inova Fairfax Hospital. On Sunday, Sharma was taken off life support and passed away.

“It’s a shame,” Broad Run Principal Douglas Anderson said. “It’s very hard for his family and the school community to go through this.”

Anderson issued a statement to the school on Monday informing them of the news.

“[Sharma] was well-connected and well-liked,” Anderson said. “He crossed a lot of different groups.”

Broad Run provided a grief counseling team of six additional counselors on Monday, according to Byard.

Sharma’s family will be making plans next week so that students and friends can attend the services. On May 6, “Coffee House,” a Broad Run poetry reading group, will be accepting donations for a scholarship fund in Sharma’s honor. On May 12, the Broad Run debate team will sponsor a fundraiser in his name–all proceeds will go to the debate club and the scholarship fund.

Skateboarding has been in Loudoun news of late, as the LOCO Skate Project, an organization advocating the development of safe and legal skate areas in the county, has provided guidance in getting two additional skate plazas open in Herndon and South Riding – joining the long-standing Catoctin Skate Park in Leesburg. The group is currently in the process of developing more safe and legal skate parks in Virginia.

“Everyday, a variety of risks, both on and off a skateboard, are overlooked by us all,” Stephen Jefferson, executive director of the LOCO Skate Project, said. “Our assumptions on safety and confidence in our abilities reside at a much higher level than the truth and, unfortunately, often proves us wrong before we accept reality. Shashwat’s incident should grasp the attention of skateboarders and other athletes as a reminder that, no matter your experience, safety should never be taken for granted. I highly recommend all athletes to wear protective gear and to limit your actions to your ability. My sincere condolences go out to Shashwat’s family.”

This is a developing story.


This tradgedy of another Fallen Skater happens far more often than Skaters realize or want to admit. According to CDC, In 2010 over 28,000 Skaters were admitted to Emergency rooms nationwide with brain trauma. That works out to an average of 3 per hour 24/7. Our son 28yo son, Ian Tilmannn suffered a similar fate in 2005 who died from brain trauma while Longboarding with no helmet. There is only one proven cure for traumaic brain injury…it is call PREVENTION. To learn more Google “FREE HELMET” for links to “Helmet for a Promise”. Our hearts go out to Shash’ parents, family and freinds. Such a tragic loss.

For the record, Suzanne Fischer is misinformed.  The “Helemt for a Promise” is up and running and helmets are avaiable. The website is fully operational.

We will miss you Shash. You will be always in our hearts. You were such a great person.

I miss you Shash. Part of my debate family died that day, and we will miss him for ever. Maybe that’s the important part.  The rest of it doesn’t matter as much.

We just miss him.  I just miss him.  And it’s hard.

@julie hines - unfortunatley the Ian Tillman Foundation ran out of money and not longer offers the free helmets.  You cannot even pull up their web site any longer.  There are some very inexpensive helmets out there - you just need to find them. I have a 10 year old that is going to be very unhappy with me but I am going to insist he wears the helmet or the skateboard becomes mine.

@anyone that arbitrarilly capitalizes words in the middle of their sentence, stop doing it, it adds nothing to your argument and makes you seem like a little kid.

Bow down to Zod: Seriously, dude, think about it: you didn’t have the Internet or this much access to local and cable news in the ‘70s.  The odds of you hearing about bad things happening were almost none unless you lived in the neighborhood or somehow the word got out on local TV news.  We hear everything now.  Kids were getting hurt, even killed doing things when we were young just as now.

The life has been lost, blame is useless now.  The sad thing is that apparently the loss of this life did not teach enough people a lesson. Yesterday, ss I sat at a red light in front of a skate park in Herndon I thought of this tragedy.  That park had a good number of kids skating and not one of them had a helmet on.

how dare ANYONE blame his parents. kids these days will do whatever they feel like doing and i know that NONE of his friends even wore helmets. and his poor parents didn’t buy him a longboard in the first place because they were aware of the dangers that came with riding one. it breaks my heart that shash had to be another statistic. god bless his soul. love and miss you so much shashwat.

Please all people wear a helmut from someone everyday thanks myself that I was wearing my helmut I was in a Semi-Pro Moutain bike race though the woods in New Hampshire.  My head hit a huge boulder I was knocked unconscious and had a very bad concussion but the helmut saved my life.

Ooh, and one more thing, those of you who blame his parents should feel terrible. I was at the service, and I can say to you that it was the hardest, saddest thing I’ve ever had to see: His parents, specifically his mother, were so heartbroken. They truly loved their son and these few days have been the hardest for them to bear. How dare you say that this is there fault. People should know that a 16 year old boy will do whatever he chooses to do, it doesn’t matter what his parents say.

For all of you who wonder how he died, or think that there’s more to it, there isn’t. I knew Shashwat. He was one of my best friends and he did die from jsut skateboarding. He was going down a hill, that didn’t present that much danger to a avid skateboarder, but Shash didn’t skateboard that often and as he proceeded down the hill, he fell and landed on his head. So for all of you rude, insensitive people who question his death, was it really necessary to comment? Was it really necessary to upset us with your unthoughtful questions. You couldn’t let a sleeping dog lie. It was a freak accident that was caused by a nothing other than a simple fall on a skateboard.

I do not get why people have to blame the parents of this kid. Parents can not be around their kids 24 hours a day, and my deepest condolences for the “WHOLE FAMILY AND FRIENDS GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU”

Died from a skateboard accident? How is this possible? Back in the 70s every kid skateboarded…not a single one with a helmet, gloves, elbow or knee pads…in fact, nobody had any safety equipment what so ever! Heck, you were lucky to see a kid skateboarding with shoes! I know myself, I skateboarded in shorts, tee-shirt and usually nothing else! We had wooden boards we made ourselves from 2X4s and roller skate wheels…not very forgiving! Towards the late 70s, fiberglass and aluminum boards got popular. I still have my SuperFlex aluminum board with ACS 650 trucks, wayne brown rad-pads and 60mm precision bearing urethane Kryptonic blues. Heck, 40 mph was a normal downhill speed and if we went out to WestPark in Tysons, 50+ mph was the norm! And you know what? no one died! We had some pretty scary moments at times (like hanging onto the bumper of a car and the kid’s ring prevented him from letting go of the bumper when he lost his board…messed up his knees a bit!) but no one died!
did he die street boarding? Did he have a home made ramp? was he at a skateboard park? too many questions, not enough answers!

I just want to thank the Sharma Family for allowing their son to keep giving life.  My brother is a recent kidney receipent we know “The Gift of Life”.  All I can say is be a DONOR! It’s as simple as updating your drivers license.

It is evident from reading most of these comments that everyone has lost focus of the real issue. The Sharma’s have lost their son & need support from their family, friends, & neighbors. Kids will be kids & they can’t grow up in a bubble.  I am sure that many of us have some unsafe tales from our childhood. And, we ended up with a few bumps/bruises/broken bones. Tragically, this did not end that way.  And, yes maybe something needs to be done to prevent this from happening to anyone else in the future. Sadly, nothing will bring their son back & that is the toughest thing for a parent to endure.

To the Sharma’s
Though I have never met you or your son, my thoughts & prayers are with you during this tough time. I have recently lost a young family member & I can only imagine the pain you must be feeling.  I am sure he is in heaven & would want everyone he knew to celebrate his time here on earth & not dwell on his early departure.

I’m terribly sorry for Shashwat

I have known Sasha’s mother for years, and she is an incredibly sweet, wonderful, loving person who has an amazing skill at taking care of and relating to children. This is such a horrible tragedy, and my heart goes so out to the family. Unfortunately, every parent of a teen I know says the same thing: It could have easily been their chid. No matter how much you tell a child all the safe things to do, you cannot be with them every second. Let’s be real here. Is there really anyone here who didn’t do something that wasn’t totally safe when they were a teen? Most of us have just been lucky. Unfortunately, Sasha and his family weren’t. I will lecture my young children about safety everyday, and just pray and hope for the best!

Shashwat’s passing is very sad. My thoughts are with his family and friends. You can teach kids to wear a helmet, not do drugs and abstain from sex, but sadly they will do whatever they want. So, how about we stop pointing fingers.

@logical, yes and we should also make people walk around with lightning rods attached to the ground at all times in case they are struck by lightning.

@ Zeke, I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. I agree with your statement wholeheartedly. Hang in there…

@Manik “It would have been kind of over the top to have made him wear a helmet if he was just trying it out.”
Obviously not, because it might have prevented this.  I guess when people test drive a car, they shouldn’t bother to wear seatbelts either?

Blame should not be placed on anyone. This is a tragic loss of a promising young man who will be greatly missed by the entire Broad Run High School family. Please say extra prayers today for his family and close friends as this will be an extremely difficult day for them. 

We do not need another law that the kids will/will not follow. My point of my original post was for us as parents to drive home to our kids the importance of wearing a helmet. I know that my son would take off his bike helmet as soon as he was out of my sight, and the same thing goes for a skateboard helmet. The tragic loss of their friend goes to show that it can happen at any time to any one. Whether you are 16, 28, or 40 you need to wear protective gear when riding skateboards, biking, scooters, whatever.

For parents or kids that cannot afford helmets there is a foundation called the Ian Tilmann Foundation. His parents set up the foundation after he tragically passed away from a head injury after a fall. They have a Helmet for a Promise program. Do not know anymore details other than that.

It is beyond cruel stating that Shashwat’s parents are responsible for his death because they didn’t make him wear a helmet. This was a tragic accident. You never see kids wearing helmets when they’re out and about on their skateboards and riding their bikes. Obviously more parents are going to make their kids wear helmets now because of this shocking tragedy, but I’m sure that nobody would have expected something like this to happen in the first place.

Parents cannot make their kids safe 100% of the time. Calling for more legislation is a knee-jerk reaction that in reality does nothing but drive people to cede more of their free will to the government.

Kids are gonna be kids. Sometimes they dive in headfirst at the lake, or fall from trees, or crash their bikes. Accidents are going to happen. My condolences to the family and friends.


You guys are the scum of the universe.
DON"T COMMENT ON A SITUATION YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT. You don’t know how Shashwat was. Should you wear a helmet yes. BUT LOOK AROUND. how many kids do you ACTUALLY see wearing a helmet? He should be used as an example.

all that he ever did, all that he has ever done, was all for a good cause and for the best of everything.  he never did anything wrong and he was always a role model, especially to those who just joined debate as well.  he had an impact on all of our lives and we couldn’t be more thankful for his services and contributions. 

you are more than a friend to us shashwat, you are a hero.  and our thoughts, hearts, and prayers all go to you and your family.

I was a pretty close friend of Shashwat’s and I just have a few comments to make about this. First, his parents are not to blame at all. They couldn’t have affected the choice he made not to wear a helmet. Second is directed to those calling for a law to be made requiring all to wear helmets. Maybe you want that, but don’t you dare use his death to justify it. That’s the exact opposite of Shash’s ideologies. His ideology was one of critiquing the state and the biopolitical power it exerts over those that live within its confines (this is only a small aspect of the very dense philosophical literature Shashwat subscribed to). He would not want the state interfering in matters such as this.

To those critizing his parents, they were in blacksburg visiting his sister at college.  There is no way that they could have made him wear a helmet.  Also, Shash wasn’t a skater.  I actually heard it wasn’t even his board.  It would have been kind of over the top to have made him wear a helmet if he was just trying it out.  The odds of this happening were astronomical. I don’t think anyone is to blame.  It’s just incredibly unfortunate.

John, you had the misfortune of posting just before Greg and I thought the name came after the post.  I realized my error and posted that it was Greg that my post was directed at.

@Robin I’m re-reading my post over and over again trying to see how it can be construed as criticizing his parents.  My post was quite the opposite.  If I was unclear, then I apologize.  Did you by any chance mean to address another poster?

Regarding helmet use, I totally agree.  My kids are told to use a helmet when doing any of those activities, but as a father I have to admit that I cannot always follow my 16 year old to ensure that he’s always wearing one.  I can guarantee you now, he will wear one and won’t have to be told, that is if he ever rides that skateboard again.

Sorry John.  This was meant to be directed to Greg.

@ John, do have knowledge that none of us have?  I am not with my kids 27/7 and although I have made it very clear that they are to wear helmets while skateboarding and biking, unless I am always at there side, I can not put the helmet on their heads.  We have no idea what conversations these grieving parents have or have not had with their child.  None of us, unless living in their household, knows what happens within a family.  I find it impossible to wrap my head around the fact that you would even think to blame the parents.  I did not know Shashwat or the Sharma family, but I am part of the Broad Run family and my thoughts are with all those who are affected by the death of their son, friend, schoolmate or neighbor.  Let’s just call it what it is… A tragedy.

How nice of you to make your anti-“nanny” state political point at the expense of the boys family, in their darkest hour.

It was an accident.  Should he have worn a helmet? Oh heck yes, are his parents responsible for not demanding he wear a helmet?, Oh heck yes.  But it is free will and we don’t need more nannies deciding how to make our lives to fit their demands.

It’s wonderful they donated is organs, but a pity a kid died needlessly.

How can people be so insensitive and blame the parents?  As if they need your ridicule in this time of mourning.  My son was skateboarding with Shashwat when the accident occurred.  All of the families that knew Shashy is devastated and don’t need an armchair quarterback telling them it’s their fault.

Helmets?  Absolutely.  Law?  Maybe not, but don’t add insult to the situation.  You can’t hurt his parents any more than they already are.  You’re just being a jerk.

I agree with RJD. How about parental responsabily when it comes to helmets.  We don’t need a new law. Maybe if the parent mandated he wear a helmet he would alive today. What a tragedy.

Please don’t use this tragedy to promote the passage of another law.

For those asking it was head trauma. He fell and hit his head on the pavement and died after being rushed to the hospital. He also donated all of his organs and probably saved multiple lives. Sad to see him go.

Don’t want to be morbid here, but what exactly happened?  It just says an accident.  If people knew exactly what happened it might sink in with the kids a bit more.

Very sad to hear God bless him and his family.

We are very sorry to hear about your lose, he was such a young man and had a full life ahead of him…. Please wear helmets and always use caution!
It is so sad another young life gone, the Lord gained another beautiful Angel in Heaven!
God bless his family during this time of sorrow!!

There is vague information about the actual injury - the article does not even mention that it was due to head trauma (even though I assume).  Can anyone provide the reason for his death?

wow i am so sorry to hear this my daughter was outside when this happen she called me and told me about it then today i asked about him im so sorry to hear about your lose we r going to miss watching him ride down the street we live on suscon sq your family is in our prayers

The Broad Run Debate & Speech team is devastated from the loss of their friend and team mate. Shash was a part of the #1 debate team in the state… heading to 2 National Debate tournaments for the second year along with his partner, Nick Lepp and several other Broad Run students. He had a promising future.. We are all so sad. As another post said.. PLEASE WEAR A HELMET! Not just on skateboards.. scooters, bikes.. everything.  Is it really worth paying the highest price to look cool?

I am so sorry that any family has to go through a loss of a child.  It has changed them forever.  Safety equipment and skateboarding has long been an issue.  Most of the skaters are at an age where they feel unbeatable.  They need incentive, not only lectures.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could get local shops to give skateboard equipment discounts (decks, trucks, wheels, etc) for skaters that prove that they always wear their helmet????

Our hearts go out to Shashwat’s family in such difficult time. May almighty god provide strength and courage to them to face this catastrophe.

Wow another sensless death.. We parents need to get a law passed that they have to wear a helmet.. My son is NOT allowed to skate with out a helmet.. Lets start a petition parents..

To the Sharma Family - Our thoughts and prayers are with you..

The family has asked that donation checks in Shashwat’s honor be made out to Broad Run Debate. It will go to fund a debate scholarship in his name.

Wow, skating,biking stunt walking helments save lives! I did it all when I was a kid and almost never wore a helment, I guess we were lucky…. My thoughts and preyers go to the family and friends of this child.

To Anonymous: Teenagers that skateboard prefer to buy their own equipment, instead of their parents buying it. I see to it that he has the money for the helmet, but don’t get to pick it out. According to him, I don’t know what to get so it’s best to let him do it himself.

I’m sure that the students will be out in full force at the coffee house to honor their friend and raise money for the Debate Team scholarship fund. Again my thoughts and prayers are with the Sharma family during this difficult time.

The coffee house is a reoccuring event where students come together to listen to music, read poetry and prose, and do other sorts of performing arts, not a parent’s meeting. The one on May 6th is dedicated to Shaswat Sharma and all the money recieved (the $3 admission) is going to the debate team’s scholorship fund as per the family’s request.  There is no fundraising event on the 12th that is open to the public—but the Debate team is raising money for the scholorship through donations.

Better yet, buy your kid a helmet. Why make him/her buy one?

Oh my, what a tragic accident.  We grew up in the 70s and never wore helmets or any other protection and never knew anybody who died so tragically but sometimes it’s just an unlucky moment and a family is changed forever! 

My thoughts and prayers are with the Sharma family!

It’s sad to hear about stories like these. Just try to instill safety should always come first!!

This young man was a friend of my son’s. From what I understand, he was a student at Broad Run High School and a member of their Debate Team. Unfortunately, he passed away on Sunday. His family is in my thoughts and prayers during this terribly difficult time.
This could have just as easily been my son that got injured. Parents of skateboarders, PLEASE PLEASE make your child wear a helmet. They will always come up with all sorts of reasons why not, like they cost $40, or they are hot, or stupid looking. My son has now been told in no uncertain terms that he is not to set one foot on his longboard until he buys a helmet. Given the loss of his friend, I think it would have been a while anyway.

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