The Union County Health Department will hold a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. Sept. 12 in the Mill Valley community, at the shelter at the end of Mill Wood Boulevard, to get the word out about the need for bicycle helmets.
Grant Dailey knows firsthand just how important bicycle helmets are. The 9-year-old lost control of his bike Aug. 21 and flipped over the handlebars.
He doesn't remember much about the accident but he knows if he had not been wearing a helmet, it could have been worse. Even so, he sustained a concussion, road rash and a separated shoulder.
"I have one of those Schwinn helmets with pretty thick padding and it cracked straight through that," he said. "I landed on my head and my shoulder."
Word of Grant's accident made its way to the health department, where Shawnna Sue Jordan, the department's health educator, saw an opportunity to use his story in getting the word out about bike helmet safety.
The health department held a bicycle safety meeting Aug. 29 in Mill Valley, just a week after Grant's accident.
"We distributed 61 helmets, checked approximately 15, and talked to about 30 parents who were all excited about what we're doing and vowed to come to the town hall meeting," Jordan said.
Grant's accident was so bad that he was knocked unconscious for a few seconds. Neighbors quickly called 911.
He remembers some of the ambulance ride and his mom remembers how bad he looked.
"To see his face when it happened," Bobbie Dailey recalled. "It was so swollen."
Jordan said helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent, yet only 45 percent of children age 14 and younger usually wear them.
Bobbie Dailey said wearing a helmet is non-negotiable at her house.
"He's been in a helmet since before he was walking. We just made him wear it from early on so it wouldn't be an issue when he got older," she said.
Grant's accident has already had an effect in his community.
"We do see more neighbor kids wearing them now since that event," Dailey said.
Grant said if he ever sees his friends on bikes without helmets, he will give them an earful: "I'm just going to be yelling at them for not wearing the helmets."
In true kid fashion, he said his accident won't keep him down for long.
"The second I get home from the doctor the day he says I'm allowed to, I'm going to be gone on my bike," he said.
"The day after the accident, he was already asking to get another helmet," his mother said.