Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I learned the hard way why we wear helmets

PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Citizen
DATE: 2005.06.07
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PNAME: Letters
PAGE: A11
BYLINE: Jonathan Sherman
SOURCE: The Ottawa Citizen
ILLUSTRATION: Photo: Nicki Corrigall, The Ottawa Citizen / JonathanSherman says he always doubted his parents' admonitions to wear a helmet while cycling and playing hockey -- until he nearly damaged an eye while playing hockey without a helmet.

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I learned the hard way why we wear helmets

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I learned a valuable lesson a few months ago that I hope can help another child by showing the importance of putting on a safety helmet and not worrying about what friends may say -- and by showing also that occasionally our parents can be right.

My new outlook on helmets came crashing down on me quite literally on March 11.

It has been a common theme in our house of three boys that wearing a helmet to play hockey or using a biking helmet is a must. My brothers and I have grown up with this message drilled into our heads from a very young age. My mother has caught me over the past year playing shinny and riding my bike without my helmet.

It has been explained to me numerous times about the dangers that can happen without a helmet. I have also suffered groundings for not following our family rules. On March 11, I decided to play hockey without my helmet as I was so convinced that my parents were simply being overprotective with their helmet rules.

However, as I lay in the emergency room at the Queensway-Carleton Hospital that evening getting stitched up and having come dangerously close to seriously damaging an eye, I realized how wrong I was and that perhaps my parents' rules about helmet use were actually a good idea. As a teenager, I was more concerned about my friends making fun of me than actually thinking about why helmets are a good idea.

I am now a reformed hockey player and bike rider. I no longer care that most of my friends ride a bike helmetless and I will never play shinny again without a helmet. My belief that nothing would ever happen to me has been shaken forever.

Jonathan Sherman, 15,

Nepean

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