Roller derby is a uniquely American sport — dating back to 2001 in its current revival and exploding like mad, with new leagues forming daily (both flat- and banked-track). It is an extreme formation-skating contact sport. Skaters and referees adopt pseudonyms, but modern roller derby is like old-school roller derby (this ain't your momma's cheesy roller games), and the skaters are trained athletes risking sometimes profound injuries. League members have the added advantage of learning how to run a business, since leagues are self-organized and skater-owned.
For a great overview of roller derby, see Roller Derby on How Stuff Works. For overview and the history of roller derby, both banked track and flat track, see Roller Derby on Wikipedia. YouTube hosts a really cool animated look at flat track derby rules: Roller Derby Explained. And here's another one. For a funny and smart dead-tree read about modern flat-track roller derby, pick up a copy of Melissa Joulwan's Rollergirl: Totally True Tales from the Track or Catherine Mabe's Roller Derby: The History and All-Girl Revival of the Greatest Sport on Wheels.
We are governed by the Official Rules of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association. Each skater must be assessed and pass the WFTDA Minimum Skill Requirements. Flat track derby is played on a regulation track according to the WFTDA Track Design. Referees use standard WFTDA hand signals.
Roller derby is played on quad roller skates, usually speed skates. The minimum set of safety gear a skater must wear is skate helmet, mouth guard, elbow pads, wrist guards, and knee pads. Skaters also use shin guards and padded shorts. Injuries are common and include torn knee ligaments, concussions, black eyes, hip hematomas, shin bruises, spiral fractures, bruising, rink rash, Velcro scratches, abrasions, sprained ankles, and dislocations. Seasoned players also suffer rotator cuff damage, lower back pain, and knee problems. Roller derby skaters do a lot of cross-training to try to mitigate these injuries.
Individual skaters and venues at which we practice or compete must be insured through the USA Roller Sports organization. Participants in Alaska roller derby do so at their own risk, per Alaska Statutes AS 09.65.290. Civil Liability for Sports or Recreational Activities.
The roller derby industry convention, RollerCon, happens in Las Vegas, NV, each summer. The convention provides networking, workshops, training, scrimmages, challenges, bouts, art shows, bands, fashion shows, derby wedding, pool parties, banquet, ball, and other entertainment — all the things that make roller derby kick so much butt.
Find out more through our links page.
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