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Children of Baltimore Get Free 'Helmets 4 Safety'

American Society of Plastic Surgeons Donates Helmets to Local Public Schools

BALTIMORE, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) will donate 2,000 multi-sport helmets to the children of Baltimore to promote safety and prevent facial injuries and fractures. The event will be held at Federal Hill Preparatory School in Baltimore on Thursday, October 25, from 10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

Baltimore Deputy Mayor, Salima Siler Marriott, and Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPSS) Chief of Staff, Bennie E. Williams, will join ASPS President Roxanne Guy, MD, and other ASPS Member Surgeons for the donation ceremony.

"Every year ASPS Member Surgeons repair thousands of children's injuries from bike, skateboard, and scooter accidents and see firsthand how devastating they can be," said Dr. Guy. "It is equally important for us to aid in the prevention of these injuries as it is to repair them. Through this donation we hope to encourage more children to wear helmets to prevent serious brain injuries, lacerations and fractures."

An estimated 44.3 million people younger than 21 years old ride bikes in the United States. Each year, more than 500,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries. Children 15 and younger accounted for an estimated 257,900 bicycle-related injuries in 2006.

Recreational skateboarding-related injuries among children are up 7 percent from 2004 to 2006. In 2006, an estimated 77,600 skateboard-related injuries occurred among children 15 and younger.

Scooters are another source of recreational sports injuries. Non-powered scooter-related injuries accounted for an estimated 38,400 injuries among children 15 or younger in 2006. Powered scooter-related injuries accounted for an estimated 3,700 emergency room visits in 2006 in this age group.

Many of these injuries could have been avoided or greatly reduced if proper protective gear had been worn. However, many children from low-income households in Baltimore are unable to afford such precautionary safety equipment. Studies show helmets can prevent 85 percent of serious head injuries and 65 percent of injuries to the mid- and upper face. Even with this information, children who say they "always" wear helmets varies among states from only 13 to 65 percent.

As the ASPS welcomes more than 6,000 plastic surgeons, medical personnel, and exhibitors to Plastic Surgery 2007, its 76th annual meeting, Oct. 26-31, at the Baltimore Convention Center, the Society wants to give its host city a gift to benefit its most prized possessions -- its children.

"Many thanks to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons for ensuring that this important public health issue is inclusive of the economically disadvantaged," said Baltimore Deputy Mayor Salima Siler Marriott. "Precautionary safety equipment must be available to all. Income cannot be a barrier to safety."

ASPS, in coordination with BCPSS, selected Federal Hill Preparatory School to host the donation based on the ethnic diversity and need of the student body. With 333 students, Federal Hill serves grades pre-kindergarten through eighth. All students at Federal Hill will receive helmets and the remainder will be distributed by BCPSS, city-wide to students, throughout the 2007-08 school year.

"We are thankful to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons for their generous gift," said BCPSS Chief of Staff Bennie E. Williams, Major General (Ret.). "We want our students to be physically active and engaged in play, but we also want them to be smart about safety. These helmets will ensure our students have the equipment they need to play hard and be safe."

Helmets 4 Safety is supported by a grant from the Integra Foundation.

"The Integra Foundation is pleased to support the Helmets 4 Safety program for the third year," said Integra Foundation Executive Director Gianna Sabella. "Bike riding is a leading cause of recreational sports injuries in children. We hope these helmets reduce the number of injuries and help to ensure children's safety as they participate in recreational sports."

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. With more than 6,000 members, the Society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises 90 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the Society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

The Integra Foundation is dedicated to advancing innovative medical and healthcare research and education, primarily in neurosurgery, extremity reconstruction, orthopedics and general surgery, that lead to improved outcome and quality of life for patients and their communities. It is funded by Integra LifeSciences Corporation (Nasdaq: IART), a leader in developing and marketing high quality surgical instruments, innovative devices and bio-products, for use in neurosurgery, reconstructive and general surgery, and soft tissue repair.

SOURCE American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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