HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Concussions and other head injuries have been in the news a lot lately. Last year, Mississippi had more than 4,000 traumatic brain injury cases. With summer break coming up, one group wants to make sure children protect their heads. On Friday, they received a gift that could save their life.
A brave young man showed off his dance moves in front of his entire class. The lesson showed how the brain controls body functions and why it's important to protect this fragile organ.
A representative with the state Department of Rehabilitation Services urged the students at Lyman Elementary to put on a helmet before they hop on a bike, scooter or skateboard. Then, came a surprise announcement.
"We are going to give everyone a brand new multi-sport safety helmet!" Allison Lowther announced.
All 622-students at the school received a helmet to take home.
"I was surprised, because my mom and dad wouldn't buy me one. So I'm surprised I got a helmet now," said second grader Jaydn Linneman.
"I was glad, because it's my first helmet and I always wanted one. I like green," said second grader Taia Pegues.
"I love to see the enthusiasm when the kids get excited about these helmets. A lot of times they've never had a helmet. Or they've had one, but they've outgrown it. So it's a good thing we can replace it for them. If they're not in the habit of wearing these helmets, now they know what the purpose is," said Lowther.
Each helmet came color-coded by size to make sure the fit was just right.
Aiden Jones said he was excited to get a helmet, "Because it'll keep my brain safe and I won't get hurt."
"If you get your brain injured, then you'll fail your test and stuff, and you won't be able to pass school," said Taia.
"Sometimes helmets can be expensive. This way, this program bringing it this way, it makes it easy access," said Lyman Elementary Nurse Rochelle Reese.
Since the Use Your BRAIN Helmet Program started in 2010, more than 85,000 helmets have been given out to elementary schools across the state.
"The money we spend on giving out these helmets, if we can save one child from being injured, then it's well worth our efforts. We want them to grow up happy and healthy and free from injuries," said Lowther.
Lowther is the coordinator of the Mississippi Traumatic Brain Injury/Spine Injury Trust Fund, which provided the helmets. The funds came from fees collected through DUI convictions and moving violations.