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May 2, 2012

SIU Med School to Hold Crash Reenactment Program in Pawnee

Students at Pawnee High School will witness a mock crash reenactment presented in part by "ThinkFirst," an injury prevention program offered by Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield. The reenactment will begin at 1 p.m. Friday, May 11 at Pawnee High School, 810 Fourth Street, Pawnee.  

The outdoor event depicts what can happen when young drivers drink and drive or ride with distracted or impaired drivers. Emergency personnel normally summoned after a car crash will simulate their tasks. Those assisting with the event will be Pawnee High School staff, Pawnee Police and Fire Departments, Sangamon County Sheriff’s Deptartment, Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, Illinois State Police, Arch Helicopter Transport, and Curry Funeral Home. Makeup for “victims” will be coordinated by SIU ThinkFirst staff. Guest speakers for the event will be Illinois State Police Trooper Nathan Baker, Sangamon County Coroner Cinda Edwards and Danny Hicks, SIU ThinkFirst program. 

“The purpose of the crash reenactment program is to show the real-life consequences of risk-taking behaviors,” says Mary Kay Reed, SIU instructor of surgery and project director. “Students are capable of making intelligent decisions.” This local program is a chapter of the ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation. ThinkFirst is presented as a public service at no cost to the school.

Each year 430,000 brain and spinal cord injuries occur in the United States; one-third happens to people between the ages of 15 and 24. "This year there will be more than 1,200 head injuries and more than 800 spinal injuries in a 40-county area of central Illinois. The tragedy is most of these injuries are preventable," explains Reed.

ThinkFirst is funded by SIU School of Medicine and a federal grant provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation and administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Safety. Those interested in the program are invited to contact Reed at SIU School of Medicine, P.O. Box 19679, Springfield, IL.  62794-9679, 217-545-9112.

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