For Immediate Release
July 22, 2011
Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320
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More than 100,000 children are riding Texas streets more safely, thanks to bicycle helmets Texas Medical Association (TMA) physicians and families have given them. TMA’s Hard Hats for Little Heads program gave out its 100,000th helmet to a child in May. TMA hopes to double that number in the next five years.
C. Bruce Malone, MD, an Austin orthopedic surgeon, has seen children suffer because they were not wearing a helmet. “When I stood over a child in the intensive care unit who was brain dead and had hardly a scratch on the rest of his body, I became frustrated with the lack of protection for kids,” says Dr. Malone, TMA’s president.
“I pledged to myself then that I would do everything I could to get every child to wear a helmet, and I’m pleased to be part of an organization that is working so hard to protect our children,” he adds.
TMA created the Hard Hats for Little Heads program in 1994. It encourages children to exercise safely by wearing a properly fitted helmet every time they bike, skate, skateboard, or ride a scooter.
Local sponsors partner with TMA to give away helmets at events in their communities, and educate children and their parents about the importance of wearing a helmet. TMA provides free helmets to match helmet purchases by sponsors. Low-income children in more than 100 of Texas’ 254 counties have received most of the helmets.
During the past five years, TMA has increased the number of helmets given to children by more than 200 percent, from 8,390 in 2006 to 17,792 in 2010. Already in 2011, TMA already has given more than 8,000 helmets.
“The accomplishment of giving away 100,000 helmets is something to celebrate,” says Dr. Malone. “More importantly, we’re celebrating the children who have been protected from potential lifelong injury and possibly even death.”
Funding for TMA’s Hard Hats for Little Heads is provided by the TMA Foundation thanks to top donors Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Prudential, and an anonymous foundation — and gifts from physicians and their families.
TMA's Hard Hats for Little Heads is sponsored by the association's philanthropic arm, the TMA Foundation, thanks to generous donations from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas and Prudential Financial, and gifts from physicians and their families.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing nearly 45,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 120 component county medical societies around the state. TMA's key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
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