OTTAWA, July 7 /CNW Telbec/ - The Ontario Trial Lawyers Association
(OTLA), an organization committed to justice and advocacy on behalf of injured
persons, announced today that it has distributed more than 400 bicycle helmets
to students attending schools in both the Ottawa-Carleton District School
Board and the Ottawa Catholic School Board.
The Helmets on Kids initiative has been running annually in London,
Ontario for several years. Following up on that success, OTLA decided to
expand the initiative across the province, including to the Ottawa area.
In this inaugural year, lawyers and law firms in Ottawa who are members
of OTLA donated close to $3,000.00 to the Helmets on Kids campaign, allowing
OTLA to purchase more than 400 helmets for distribution to elementary school
students. The campaign has been supported locally by a number of community
partners including the Head Injury Association of the Ottawa Valley, Ottawa
Public Health, Plan-it-Safe (CHEO), the Ottawa Safety Council, Safe
Communities Ottawa, Citizens for Safe Cycling, ThinkFirst, and the Vista
In a press release dated August 30, 2006, the Canadian Institute for
Health Information reported that, in 2003-2004, the "highest proportion of
hospitalizations due to cycling-related head injuries was seen in children and
youth (60%)," stating that, "cycling is one of the leading causes of sports
and recreation-related head injury."
"The majority of head injuries in children can be prevented by wearing a
properly fitted bicycle helmet during cycling," said Dr. Michael Vassilyadi, a
pediatric neurosurgeon at CHEO and Ottawa Chapter Director for ThinkFirst
Canada. Dr. Vassilyadi, who sees firsthand the devastating outcomes when
children, not wearing helmets, are injured in bicycle accidents, pointed out
that, "every year there are hundreds of head injuries in Canada, with some of
them resulting in death. Of the survivors, there are a variety of injury
levels that have an altering factor, not only to the injured individual, but
also to the family and community at large. Wearing a bicycle helmet is the
single most important way to protect the brain. This is especially important
in children where the brain continues to develop. Once a traumatic brain
injury occurs, there may be long-term, irreversible sequela."
"Helmet use is key to injury prevention. In a city like Ottawa, with all
the opportunities for outdoor activity, we wanted to help ensure that children
are wearing their helmets when participating in activities such as cycling,
rollerblading and skateboarding," said Laurie Tucker, Ottawa personal injury
lawyer and organizer of the OTLA initiative in Ottawa.
Lawyers and law clerks who are members of OTLA distributed the more than
400 helmets to students at 16 schools in June. "Each time we go to a school to
distribute the helmets, we spend time talking to the students about helmet
safety and proper fitting. When we can, we make the presentation to the entire
school and we always leave the principal with a video on helmet safety."
OTLA gratefully recognizes the generosity of the following law firms and
individual lawyers who donated funds to the 2008 initiative:
Burn Tucker, the Personal Injury Group of Doucet McBride LLP
Christine La Casse
Tierney Stauffer LLP
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For further information:
For further information: Laurie Tucker, (613) 233-4474,