Adventures in Avoiding…

No, not that kind of avoiding!

Avoiding TBI of course!

I’m having difficulty advocating for safety I guess. As you know I’m a school-based SLP and work with ages 3-21. As such, I’ve tried to educate my superintendent and high school principal to the dangers of concussion and sports injuries  (and hearing loss but that’s another story!)… but it seems to fall on (pardon the pun) deaf ears. I’ve tried and I’ll keep trying…but I really need some tips on how to go about it. Providing information from ASHA and neurosurgeon’s, concussion websites, etc. doesn’t seem to be having much of an impact…maybe if I put it in the shape of a football?

In our school’s April newsletter, I talked about the need for helmets for bike riders, scooters, and skates…in the hopes that just one or two kids would start wearing helmets. I do see a few (very few) wearing helmets and I’m always pleased…but I can’t honestly say it’s because of me…although it does feel nice to think maybe it was!

But, straw that broke the camels back (wait…did I just call myself a camel?) was today when I was perusing facebook and saw a darling picture of my niece…well, great niece actually. Missy H. is a beautiful, intelligent 4-year old girl who is enjoying life to the fullest. What’s wrong with that, you ask? Not a thing…but in this particular picture her mother posted was a beautiful smiling girl wearing a swimsuit, glasses, and holding her scooter. Unfortunately, not a helmet in sight. I’m opting to believe that there WAS one, it just was out of camera range…because surely, surely I couldn’t have been so negligent as to fail to educate my own FAMILY in the need for a helmet. Not me!!!

Now, my girl? Bug knows – no helmet – no riding/scootering/skating/breathing…err…okay, I let her breathe. But if it has wheels she has a helmet. It’s not negotiable. Since the time she was on a two-wheel bike she’s had a helmet. I’m proud that this is second nature for her and she doesn’t even think about it.

Now, it wasn’t easy to convince my parents (or myself) that this was a good thing. Of course, when I grew up we didn’t wear helmets (or seat belts!). But this is now…things are different. Try as I might, I simply could not convince my mom that it needed to be worn. But now, I’m proud to say – she understands and even agrees!!!!

How did I work this magic? I’m glad you asked…it was …

Ta da! Where is the Mango Princess? This book was required reading for my second semester of grad school…The class? Advanced Neuro… I read it…and then encouraged my mom to read it. She thought it was fiction – until I pointed out that it really wasn’t. I also pointed to the bit in the back (or on a website) that said something like “You will never see a neurologist riding a bike without a helmet.” That’s pretty telling isn’t it? Apparently Mom thought about it and realized how important it really was. While I haven’t convinced HER to where a helmet when she rides, she at least does ensure that my Bug wears hers.

Now to convince the rest of my family…and neighbors…and my students…and my principal…and my superintendent…

I would love to hear how you advocate for safety and avoiding TBI…Drop me a line, share a thought…maybe together we can save a brain!

****Update: This was such a timely post. Yesterday (Saturday) my daughter was riding her bike when she accidentally rubbed tires with another bike rider. My girl hit the pavement, her face was a bit scratched up – but thankfully the brim of her helmet took most of the impact. If she hadn’t been wearing her helmet, she most likely would have suffered a concusion – or at the very least a severely abraded forehead. Thankfully, no major damage was done – a fat lip, a few scrapes, and needing a new helmet is all.

Until then…Adventure on!