Brainminder Buddies

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &045; First graders at Westside Elementary School now have a better understanding of the importance of brain safety, thanks to a program presented by the Pilot Club of Demopolis.

The program is just one of many the club is undertaking during Brain Safety Week, which was declared by proclamation of Mayor Cecil P. Williamson earlier this week. With the help of four puppets and the performance of Pilot Club members Eleanor Park, Melissa Weltin and Carol Squires, students were taught how to play safely and wear helmets when riding their bicycles. Students were also given Brainminder coloring books and certificates declaring them &8220;Brainminder buddies.&8221;

Although the program is geared for a younger audience, the message is one any age group can identify with. The Brainminders, as they are called, is a Pilot Club program that is put on by clubs all over the country. Familiar faces of Gerald Giraffe, Penny Panda, Martin Monkey, Fiona Fox and The Wise Old Owl tell the story of how to be safe and protect yourself from brain injury.

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Their message of brain safety is one that fits with the philanthropic aspect of the Pilot Club, which is to raise funds and put on programs in support of brain injury awareness and prevention.

Brain injury quick facts:

4Every 21 seconds someone in the United States incurs a brain injury.

4Every 16 seconds someone in the world sustains a brain injury.

4In the United States, approximately 90,000 people experience a life-long debilitating loss of function due to a traumatic brain injury each year.

4The most frequent causes of brain injuries are vehicular crashes, falls, sports and recreational injuries and assault.

4Brain injury is the most frequent cause of death among young people.

4Annually, 30,000 children become permanently disabled, 150,000 are hospitalized and 7,000 deaths occur due to brain injury in the United States.

4Many people are not aware brain damage can occur after a near drowning, or during a medical emergency.

4Currently, up to 50 percent of the American public is unaware that shaking a baby is dangerous.

4An estimated 3,000 children are diagnosed with the traumatic brain injury known as shaken baby syndrome (SBS).