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2,000 Chicago Children Get Free ’Helmets 4 Safety’; Amer. Society of Plastic Surgeons Donates Helmets to Local Elementary Schools


CHICAGO, Sept. 22 -- The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) will donate 2,000 multi-sport helmets to the children of Chicago to promote safety and prevent facial injuries and fractures. The event will be held at Pershing Magnet Elementary School in Chicago on Sept. 22, from 9:30 - 11 a.m. Thousands of students in District 15 (Pershing Magnet, Mayo, Robinson, and Price elementary schools) will receive helmets.

The first lady of Chicago, Maggie Daley, and Chicago Park District CEO Timothy Mitchell have been invited to attend the event. Fourth Ward Alderman Toni Preckwinkle, and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Special Assistant Ron Raglin are scheduled to join ASPS Member Surgeons at the school.

“Every year board-certified plastic surgeons repair children’s injuries from accidents that happen on bikes, skateboards or scooters,” said ASPS President Scott Spear, MD. “Through this donation we hope to encourage more children to wear helmets to prevent serious brain injuries, lacerations and fractures.”

-- Bike riding remains one of the most popular recreational sports among children in America. An estimated 44.3 million people younger than 21 years old ride bikes in the United States. Each year, more than 500,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries in the United States. Children under 15 accounted for an estimated 315,700 bicycle- related injuries in 2004.

-- Over the past decade, there has been a resurgence in recreational skateboarding among children and an increased number of injuries. In 2004, there were an estimated 72,500 skateboard- related injuries among children under 15.

-- Non-powered and powered scooters have become a major source of recreational sports injuries for children. Non-powered scooter-related injuries accounted for an estimated 44,500 injuries among children under 15 in 2004. Powered scooter-related injuries accounted for an estimated 10,000 emergency room visits from July 2003 through June 2004. Approximately two-thirds of all injuries occurred in children under 15 years old.

Many of these injuries could have been avoided if proper protective gear had been worn. Studies have shown that helmets can prevent 85 percent of serious head injuries and 65 percent of injuries to the mid- and upper face. Even with this information, children who say they “always” wear helmets varies among states from only 13 to 65 percent.

As the ASPS welcomes more than 5,000 plastic surgeons, medical personnel, and exhibitors to Plastic Surgery 2005, its annual scientific meeting, Sept. 24-28, at the McCormick Place Lakeside Center, Chicago, the society wants to give its host city a gift to benefit its most prized possessions - its children.

ASPS, in coordination with CPS, selected Pershing Magnet Elementary to host this donation to coincide with the school’s “Play it Safe” back to school program, which promotes sports safety during the month of September. All schools were selected based on ethnic diversity and need of the student body. Pershing Magnet serves grades pre-k through eighth and has one of the largest student bodies in Chicago’s Lakeshore area (District 15).

“We support ’Helmets 4 Safety’ and encourage all of our kids to ’Play it Safe.’ Parents should require their children to wear helmets from the first moment they learn to ride a bike,” said CPS CEO Arne Duncan. “If the kids ride their bikes to school, we expect them to arrive wearing a helmet. Insuring a child’s physical safety is the first priority at the Chicago Public Schools.”

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. With more than 6,000 members, the society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Note: Journalists are invited to attend the “Helmets 4 Safety” multi-sport helmet donation event - Thursday, Sept. 22, 9:30. - 11 a.m. at the Pershing Magnet Elementary School, 3113 South Rhodes, Chicago, 60616. To attend “Helmets 4 Safety” or to register for Plastic Surgery 2005, contact ASPS Public Relations at 847-228-9900 or in Chicago, September 25-28 at 312-949-3250.

Statistics provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics Bicycle Helmets Policy Statement and the Skateboard and Scooter Injuries Policy Statement; the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission; and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.


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