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April 13, 2010

SIU Med School to Hold ThinkFirst Crash Reenactment at SHG

"ThinkFirst," an injury prevention program offered by Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, will assist in presenting a mock crash reenactment to students at Sacred Heart-Griffin (SHG) High School, 1200 W. Washington, Springfield, on Friday, April 16.  The program starts at 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot on the west campus and features a crash reenactment using vehicles and local students as crash victims.

The reenactment will focus on what can happen when young drivers drink and drive or ride with impaired drivers.  Emergency personnel normally summoned after a car crash will simulate their tasks.  Some students will be dressed and made-up to appear as crash victims.  Those assisting are Springfield Police (SPD) and Fire Departments, Illinois State Police (ISP), America, Lifestar and Medics First Ambulances, Sangamon County Coroner, Kirlin-Egan-Butler and Staab Funeral Homes, and Wiseman Salvage and Tuxhorn Towing.  Guest speakers will be Mark Dyment of SPD, Mindy Carroll of ISP, Ken Leonard, SHG athletic director and Susan Boone, Sangamon County coroner. 

“The purpose of the crash reenactment program is to show the real-life consequences of risk-taking behaviors,” says Mary Kay Reed, instructor of surgery at SIU and program coordinator.  “Students are capable of making intelligent decisions.  This program illustrates the consequences that can follow when bad decisions are made.”  This program is part of the national ThinkFirst program sponsored by the American College of Neurosurgeons and the North American Spine Society.  It is presented as a public service at no cost to schools.

Each year 430,000 head and spinal cord injuries occur in the United States; one-third happen to people between the ages of 15 and 24.  "This year there will be more than 1,200 head injuries and 800-plus 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 the School 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.

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