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Covington, LA— The fun of riding off road vehicles and golf carts in our part of the state is nothing new, and often times kids get them as Christmas gifts under the tree.

But they can be dangerous and a new podcast by a local hospital aims to address the dangers.

Lakeview Regional Medical Center started the podcasts to speak about health issues and the matter of ATV safety is timely.

Dr. Marco Hidalgo, Trauma Director stated, “If it requires oil and gas and spark plugs, it’s probably not a toy. It’s a vehicle and it’s and all terrain vehicle. It has a very specific design and it should be treated as such.”

The gift an of an ATV is a serious endeavor and Dr. Hidalgo and his team have treated serious injuries at Lakeview Regional.

Hidalgo says, “A lot of times we see severe traumatic brain injuries because those are the ones that require neurosurgical intervention, which we have, and unfortunately often times those are associated with a lack of helmets.”

Jenny Gensler hosts the Houscalls Podcast and in addition to ATVs, they also included another popular vehicle that folks are driving in their neighborhoods.

According to Gensler, “The golf cart is probably being used more as a recreational transportation vehicle than as an actual golf cart. If there’s not a set of golf clubs on the back, then maybe it’s not being used properly.”

In spite of the dangers, ATS and golf carts remain popular gifts, especially in rural areas. We spoke to Champion Cycle Center in Covington for a few equipment tips.

Joey Gonsoulin, of Champion told WGNO, “First thing is a helmet. You want to protect your head and the other key areas of your body. As far as boots and knee pads, and chest protectors, neck braces. There are — same as football and other sports — there’s the appropriate apparel to wear.”