May 5, 2015
Larry C. Driver, MD, of Houston, was recognized by the Texas
House of Representatives on Thursday for launching Texas Medical Association’s
(TMA’s) Hard Hats for
Little Heads bicycle helmet giveaway program, in honor of two recent milestones.
The program reached its 20th year, and TMA exceeded 200,000 free helmets given to
Texas children to protect them from head injury.
“I am humbled to accept this recognition on behalf of Texas
physicians, medical students and residents, TMA Alliance members, and other
volunteers who have contributed over the years to make Hard Hats for Little
Heads a success,” said Dr. Driver, who practices at
MD Anderson Cancer Center. “This is an example of how Texas physicians
care about Texans, especially young Texans. We are all about looking out for
Rep. J.D. Sheffield, DO, of Gatesville, a TMA member who has
sponsored several Hard Hats helmet giveaway events, made the presentation,
which declared April 30 as Hard Hats for Little Heads Day.
“Twenty years ago this man brought the idea to TMA to give
away helmets free,” said Representative Sheffield after he introduced Dr.
Driver. “Since the program began 20 years ago, more than 200,000 helmets have been
given — that’s 10,000 heads per year that have been protected from trauma. During
Child Safety Month, it is fitting that we raise awareness about head trauma and
the importance of wearing a helmet,” he said.
In 1994, Dr. Driver was
living in San Angelo when a young neighbor fell off her bike and suffered a
concussion. She was not wearing a bicycle helmet. The doctor knew a helmet
could have prevented her injury, so he began to create a bike helmet giveaway
program whereby he and his physician colleagues could prevent brain injuries in
TMA adopted Dr. Driver’s idea, and the Hard Hats for Little
Heads program was born. San Angelo physicians, with the help of the local
police department, gave away the program’s first 500 helmets.
Through Hard Hats for Little
Heads, Texas physicians urge children to be active and to stay safe: The
program’s motto is “Get Moving. Stay Safe. Wear a Helmet.” TMA encourages
helmet use for all sports on wheels: biking, inline skating, skateboarding, and
riding a scooter. Studies have shown that properly worn bike helmets can
prevent up to 85 percent of brain injuries. Head
injury is the most common cause of death and serious disability from bike
“How many of you have children?” Representative Sheffield
asked House members. “I hope you insist they wear a helmet every time they ride
a bike. And that you do the same yourself.”
Hard Hats for Little Heads is made possible through a grant
from TMA’s philanthropic arm, the TMA Foundation (TMAF), thanks to top donors — Blue Cross
and Blue Shield of Texas, Prudential, and two anonymous foundations — and gifts
from physicians and their families, and friends of medicine.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing
more than 48,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin
and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key
objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans. TMA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of
the association and raises funds to support the health improvement and
science priority initiatives of TMA and the family of medicine.
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Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320; email: brent.annear[at]texmed[dot]org
Steve Levine (512) 370-1380;
Cell: (512) 750-0971; email: steve.levine[at]texmed[dot]org
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