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March 19, 2012

SIU Med School to Hold ‘Think First’ Crash Reenactment in Auburn

Students at Auburn 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 re-enactment will begin at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, March 28 at the high school, 511 N. 7th St., Auburn.

The outdoor event depicts what can happen when young drivers drink and drive or ride with distracted or impaired drivers. Wrecked vehicles will be on site, and local students will portray crash victims. Key messages are the dangers of texting and driving, zero tolerance for alcohol consumption and safety during prom and graduation activities.

Emergency personnel normally summoned after a car crash will simulate their tasks. Those assisting are Auburn High School staff, Auburn Fire, EMS and Police, Illinois Secretary of State’s Office, Sangamon County Coroner Cinda Edwards, Bramley Funeral Home and Wiseman Towing. Guest speakers for this event will be Officer Josh Blankenship from the Auburn Police Department and Sangamon County Coroner Cinda Edwards.

“The purpose of the crash reenactment program is to show the real-life consequences of risk-taking behaviors,” said Mary Kay Reed, instructor of surgery at SIU School of Medicine and project director. “Students are capable of making intelligent decisions. This event illustrates the consequences that can follow when bad decisions are made.” 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 of those injured are between the ages of 15 and 24. “This year more than 1,200 brain injuries and more than 800 spinal injuries will occur 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 by 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.