2011-04-17 / Front Page

‘Buckle Your Brain’ at Big Rock

BY JEANNE MARCELLO STAFF REPORTER


A GOOD FIT - Chesaning High School National Honor Society students fit bicycle helmets onto the heads of Big Rock third and fourth graders. (TCC Photo by Jeanne Marcello) A GOOD FIT - Chesaning High School National Honor Society students fit bicycle helmets onto the heads of Big Rock third and fourth graders. (TCC Photo by Jeanne Marcello) CHESANING – Third and fourth grade students at Big Rock Elementary School received free bicycle helmets and learned about the importance of avoiding head injuries during a special program presented April 13, by St. Mary’s of Michigan.

During the program Kelli Jankens, of St. Mary’s Field Neuroscience department, showed a film about bicycle safety, and passed around model of a skull with a brain-like portion exposed. Students were able to feel the brain, to gain a better understanding of how delicate a brain is in relation to the skull.

She asked the students to shout out different sports that are played with a helmet; football, baseball and hockey all made the list. She asked what other activities might require wearing a helmet, and the kids shouted out; “bicycling, rollerblading, skateboarding, riding a scooter.” Riding an ATV also came up, but Jankens explained that riding an ATV or a motorcycle would require a different type of helmet.


THIS IS YOUR BRAIN WITHOUT A HELMET - Big Rock third and fourth graders look on at the melon dropped from just a few feet off the ground. (TCC Photo by Jeanne Marcello) THIS IS YOUR BRAIN WITHOUT A HELMET - Big Rock third and fourth graders look on at the melon dropped from just a few feet off the ground. (TCC Photo by Jeanne Marcello) Demonstrating the importance of wearing a bike helmet, Jankens strapped a melon into a helmet. She dropped it on the gym floor. The melon was safe. Then she took another melon and simply dropped in on the floor without a helmet; what a mess!

Jankens talked about the importance of using a bicycle helmet to protect the brain from injury. Then National Honor Society (NHS) students from Chesaning High School took the time to fit each child with a bicycle helmet. NHS students had been trained in how to fit the helmets properly.

The “Buckle Your Brain” program, along with all the bicycle helmets, were sponsored by retired Chesaning High School teacher Marcia Westrick, and her husband, Leroy. Marcia explained that in 1999, her son, Matthew, was in a car accident and sustained brain injury. “My son is a survivor of a brain injury,” she said.

She sadly told the Citizen that over the years, “I’ve had so many students in acci- dents that had brain injuries.” Wanting to do something to help, Marcia and Leroy are regular supporters of the Field Neuroscience educational programs. This was an opportunity to help students in her community.

The key point made by Jankens during the Buckle Your Brain program was, “If you damage your brain, it doesn’t grow back. We can replace other body parts (arms, legs, heart, blood). We cannot give you a new brain.”

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