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VOL. 125 | NO. 69 | Friday, April 9, 2010

Event Brings Awareness to MED Brain Injury Services

By Tom Wilemon

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The “Ride for Your Mind (and Walk for Thought)” on Saturday will raise money to prevent head injuries and help people cope with brain trauma.

The entry fee is $25 for bikers and $20 for walkers.

The event is a fundraiser for Traumatic Brain Injury Services at The Regional Medical Center at Memphis.

Carolyn Chambers, the coordinator for the program, said head injuries are a major health problem in the Mid-South – particularly for teenagers.

“Car surfing” injuries are on the rise, she said. Young thrill-seekers end up hurt or killed while riding atop moving vehicles.

“When they are at that age, teenagers and young people think they are invincible and car surfing is not going to bother them,” Chambers said. “But it does. It kills them. It’s really sad.”

Between 1990 and 2008, newspapers in the U.S. reported 58 car-surfing deaths and 41 injuries, according to data search conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“This has been going on in other parts of the country for a while,” Chambers said.

“It’s really hit our area in the last year or two.”

Community outreach to alert families about risky behaviors is one of her responsibilities.

The program Chambers coordinates at The MED is one of eight in Tennessee funded by the state through grants.

Money from Saturday’s event will be used for services, such as a summer camp that gives families a respite from care-giving responsibilities, and continuing education efforts to lower the incidence of traumatic brain injuries.

The Mid-South has room for improvement.

“We have the highest number of severe traumatic brain injuries of any hospital in the country,” said Tammie Ritchey, executive director of The MED Foundation.

The hospital’s Traumatic Brain Injury Unit receives about 60 such cases each month. Although people of any age can suffer brain injuries, Ritchey said she’s also noticed an increase in accidents involving young people.

“That is a little frightening to me,” Richey said. “It let’s me know that this is something that the community needs to be aware of.”

People may register for the ride and walk by visiting www.themedfoundation.org and going to “events.” The ride and walk will begin at 2986 Kate Bond Road in Bartlett.

Registration on the day of the event will begin at 6:45 a.m. for cyclists and 9 a.m. for walkers.

The Ride for Your Life will begin at 8 a.m., while the Walk for Thought will begin at 9 a.m.

The bike run can be a 25-mile or 50-mile ride, while the distance for the walk can either be 1 mile or 3.1 miles.

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