Knee pads are one of the most critical pieces of equipment when playing roller derby. All the veteran Derby players will tell you not to skimp on them. I have huge knee pads and, not only that, I have gaskets that I wear underneath to fill in any empty space. It's like falling on a cloud. As an aside, I can tell you that I always wear my knee pads since I broke my patella during an open skate. I was feeling confident and happy and I ended up tripping over a kid who fell right in front of me. So, yeah, I'm pretty passionate about wearing them now.
In Derby, we spend a lot of time practicing falling, especially with the new girls. And it's drilled into you pretty quickly that once you fall you need to get back up immediately. 3 seconds is the general rule. Faster is better. Of course, not falling at all is best.
If you stay down too long, you become an impediment to other players and you are not helping your team.
I think maybe we all could use some spiritual or metaphorical or emotional knee pads, and the training to rise up quickly after life (or "Mayhem Steamroller") puts you down on the ground.