Head-smart walk on horizon: Kenai Peninsula Brain Injury Support Group sponsors event

Posted: Thursday, May 28, 2009

To raise community awareness of the devastating effects of brain injuries or impairments, the Kenai Peninsula Brain Injury Support Group is sponsoring its annual Brain Awareness Walk on Saturday in Kenai.

The walk begins at Kenai Central High School at 11 a.m. and goes to the Kenai Green Strip near the softball fields on Main Street Loop. Registration will be at 10:30 a.m. at the high school, and a barbecue lunch will be served at the end of the walk.

The event is the once-a-year fundraiser for the support group.

Sponsor sheets for Saturday's awareness walk are available at the Independent Living Center.

In addition to helping people who have suffered brain injuries, the support group raises awareness to help prevent brain injuries in others by visiting schools and other organizations teaching people to "protect your brain as you go about life's activities."

One of the group's ongoing programs is "Helmets For Life."

For a $10 purchase fee and an exchange helmet, children can replace a helmet they've outgrown or damaged in an accident.

The support group also staffs a table at the central Kenai Peninsula Village Health Fair, providing information on prevention and on where to find help for survivors and families of people who have sustained a brain injury.

And it endorses a national education program called "Head Smart," to help prevent brain injuries by teaching about safety issues from toddler helmets to community violence. The program is for use in school curricula.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries are falls, 28 percent; motor-vehicle accidents, 20 percent; striking something or being struck by something, 19 percent; and assaults, 11 percent.

The two age groups at highest risk, according to the CDC are birth to 4 years old and 15 to 19 years old.

Money raised at the awareness walk and barbecue stays on the Kenai Peninsula to help support the information programs, according to organizers Richard and Mary Warrington.

"When someone asks you to come participate, come to lunch or just make a donation, you are helping to educate or advocate for our loved ones -- yours and mine," the Warringtons said in a printed statement.

The group meets from 6 to 8 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at the Independent Living Center on Kalifornsky Beach Road near the Alaska Department of Fish and Game offices.

For more information on the awareness walk or on brain injury support, the Warringtons can be reached at 283-5711 or at the Independent Living Center at 262-6333.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@peninsulaclarion.com.

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