As children, it was always fun to play "explorer" and go around the neighborhood in search of adventure. Often, this would be done on a bicycle, rollerblades, or a skateboard. When you're too young to take the bus by yourself, these contraptions made traveling so much quicker and easier.
Safety is always an important issue when it comes to riding on any of these apparatuses. Especially if you are a beginner, it is encouraged that you use knee pads and elbow pads to protect you from nasty cuts and scrapes. However, even if you don't choose to utilize safety pads, a helmet is nonnegotiable. Your head houses one of the most important yet fragile parts of your body: your brain. By wearing a helmet, you will give your head an extra layer of protection against any sort of trauma - some of which can be fatal. Unfortunately, we often see people on the streets ignoring this safety rule. You might not think that riding a bicycle or skateboarding are nearly as dangerous as being in a car or motorcycle, but the impact of an accident can be just as dangerous and devastating. Just ask Tiffany Rivera and her son, Jaden. The young boy had a terrifying close call that just might have been prevented by wearing a helmet.
WARNING: The following images may be too graphic for some viewers.
Earlier this year, 10-year-old Jaden was riding around on his bike in West Palm Beach, Florida. He had not been wearing a helmet when he fell off his bicycle that day. Having only scraped his elbow and knee, his mother didn't think too much of the incident. "On Monday, March 21, 2016, my 10-year-old son Jaden was riding his bike without a helmet," Tiffany recounted on her Facebook. "While riding his bike, he fell off, scraping up his elbow and knee. When he was asked if anything else hurt, his only complaints were his elbow and knee. He showed no signs of trauma and continued about his day." Children often get cuts and scrapes while playing, so this did not immediately raise any red flags.
"Fast forward to Wednesday morning, March 23, 2016. Jaden woke up complaining of a headache and seemed very lethargic, which was not his normal self at all," Tiffany continued. It was clear that something was wrong with Jaden. He didn't want to eat, and all he wanted to do was lie down. Upon closer inspection, the worried mother noticed that there was a swelling around his right temple. Moreover, the lump was squishy and not hard.
Tiffany knew that she had to take her son to the hospital immediately. Once she got him into the car, he began to vomit. "Once Jaden arrived at Saint Mary's Children's Hospital, a CT scan was done. The diagnosis was right temporal fracture of the skull and right temporal epidural hematoma. The doctors explained to me that my son needed emergency surgery within the hour to try and save his life."
The doctors told her that Jaden's chances of survival were 50/50.
With no better option, Jaden immediately underwent the surgical procedure. They found severe and extensive damage to his brain and had to perform a frontotemporal craniotomy on him. They also had to remove the epidural hematoma and placed a wire-mesh cranioplasty on his skull. The operation lasted a nerve-racking two-and-a-half hours.
"We were told by the surgeon and other doctors that it was a miracle he survived. In all other cases, the kids never came out of surgery," Tiffany wrote. It's hard to imagine how she felt while her beloved son was in surgery with the odds against him.
Thankfully, Jaden pulled through thanks to the talented team of medical professionals who operated on him. "On April 5, 2016, Jaden turned 11 with almost no permanent damage or disability. My family and I would like to thank the Trauma Surgical Team and PICU at Saint Mary's Children's Hospital in West Palm Beach, Florida," the grateful mother of two wrote.
"I am telling you this in hopes to raise awareness for all children and adults on why you need to wear a helmet. Help others be aware of the dangers of riding without the proper safety equipment. This can happen to anyone! The injuries my son had were equal to those in a motorcycle accident!"
On April 13, 2016, Jaden finally had the 32 staples removed from his head.
Unfortunately, not everyone makes it out of these accidents alive. Now, Jaden is an advocate for bicycle helmets and is encouraging other kids to wear one when bike riding. Each year, approximately 350,000 children are admitted to hospital emergency rooms due to bicycle-related injuries.
Head injuries can result in permanent brain damage or disabilities, but a bike helmet can significantly reduce this risk. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, wearing a helmet can lower the risk by 85%.
WPTV News | West Palm Beach Florida
Hopefully, Tiffany's story can educate the public on the necessity of wearing a helmet when bike riding. Even if a head injury is not apparent right away, it could lead to something serious! So why risk it? Take the necessary precautions to stay safe every time!
To learn more about Jaden's story, check out the video below:
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