Remember that feeling of invincibility that you had as a teenager? For most of us, that feeling is almost unrecognizable now that life has caught up with us and we are aware of just how delicate life can be.
Dr. Najma Ahmed, the assistant director of trauma at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, says that this feeling of invincibility is preventable. “Teenage drivers have the highest rate of injury and death from motor vehicle crashes of any demographic group in Canada,” says the Canadian Press, and most of these teens are oblivious to their danger.
Dr. Ahmed says “It’s my job, our job to save them.” With a new program at St. Michael’s, she is hoping to do just that. A study of 260 adolescents found that when teens met with their peers who had sustained paralysis or another such life altering injury, they were most likely to alter their attitude and behavior in regards to taking the risk of damage or death seriously.
Dr. Ahmed is promoting the ThinkFirst Injury Prevention Strategy for Youth (TIPSY) at St. Michael’s, a program that takes teens to see first hand what can happen to them. Some of the situations included visiting young victims of accidents in the ICU unit, a situation that worked to bring the intended point home.
Researchers are hoping that programs such as this will spread as parents begin to realize the importance of prevention. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) or spinal cord injuries (SCI) are just some of the life changing results of a teen driving too fast and losing control of their car.
With early education, such as is given through TIPSY, the researchers at St. Michael’s hope to greatly minimize these traumatic situations as more youth leave behind the idea that “it can’t happen to me”.