Friday, October 3, 2014

TMA to Give Away More Than 6,000 Bicycle Helmets to Texas Children


TMA will give away 6,151 free bicycle helmets to Texas children in October, more helmets than TMA has ever given in a month, in celebration of the 20th birthday of its Hard Hats for Little Heads program.

TMA physicians, medical students, TMA Alliance members (volunteers who are TMA physicians and TMA members’ spouses), county medical societies (CMSs), and other volunteers will host free helmet giveaways in their communities. TMA also will underscore the importance of wearing a properly fitted helmet with parents and their children participating in events.

“This month represents 20 wonderful years of TMA giving and saving the lives of little Texans, one helmet at a time,” said Ernest Buck, MD, a Corpus Christi pediatrician and chair of TMA’s Council on Health Promotion, which oversees the Hard Hats for Little Heads program. “Fitting helmets at an event is personally rewarding, giving a hands-on way to interact with children and teach the importance of always wearing the helmet. One never knows when an accident could happen.”

Dr. Buck fits a helmet on a Texas child at a Hard Hats event
Hard Hats for Little Heads was the brainchild of Larry C. Driver, MD, who practices at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. In 1994, Dr. Driver was practicing in San Angelo when a young neighbor fell off her bike and suffered a concussion. She was not wearing a bicycle helmet. He knew a helmet could have prevented her injury and went to work to create a bike helmet giveaway program so he and his physician colleagues could prevent future childhood brain injuries.

TMA adopted Dr. Driver’s idea, and the Hard Hats for Little Heads program was born. San Angelo physicians, with the help of the local police department, gave away the program’s first 500 helmets. Since then, TMA has given away more than 180,000 helmets.

Through Hard Hats for Little Heads, Texas physicians urge children to be active and to stay safe as the program’s motto states: “Get Moving. Stay Safe. Wear a Helmet.” TMA encourages helmet use for all sports on wheels: biking, inline skating, skateboarding, and riding a scooter. Studies have shown that properly worn bike helmets can prevent up to 85 percent of brain injuries. Head injury is the most common cause of death and serious disability from bike crashes.

Hard Hats for Little Heads is made possible through a grant from TMA’s philanthropic arm, the TMA Foundation, thanks to top donors — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Prudential, and two anonymous foundations — and gifts from physicians and their families, and friends of medicine.

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