More than 160 sophomores from Maine East High School in Park Ridge and students from Immaculate Conception Junior High in Chicago learned the impact of reckless driving on people's lives Friday during Trauma Day at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.
They heard a panel discussion with former trauma patients, including Tim Sheehan, an Arlington Heights police officer who was saved by his seat belt when his police car was struck head-on in 2006 at high speed by an intoxicated driver who died in the accident. Sheehan, who spoke from a wheelchair, was in a coma nine weeks and spent four months in intensive rehabilitative therapy at Lutheran General.
The goals of Trauma Day include encouraging students to avoid serious trauma injuries by wearing seat belts, driving safely, and avoiding drug and alcohol impaired drivers. Trauma Day activities are designed to encourage students to think about the tremendous long-term impact of traumatic injuries on patients and families.
Other Trauma Day activities included visiting a mock operating room; meeting with speech pathologists, neuropsychologists, physical therapists and occupational therapists who will describe the long road to recovery; seeing the hazards of drinking and driving through special goggles and a Wii game system; and meeting with a mother whose son was an organ donor.
Other panelists included Mike Deibel, formerly of Cary, who was 17, when he lost control of his car in a single-vehicle accident while wearing his seat belt. He was flown to Lutheran General where he remained for three months, followed by four additional months in a rehabilitation facility. When he returned home, he still needed significant help from family to perform daily activities.