Remember the beloved film, A Christmas Story? Nine-year old Ralphie only wants one gift for Christmas – a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass and sundial. The very last present his parents give him is the beloved Red Ryder. Ralphie takes the gun outside, firing at a target perched on a metal sign in the backyard. Unfortunately, the BB ricochets back at him, knocking his glasses off. Ralphie actually thinks he shot his eye out since he cannot see without his glasses. He steps on the glasses while searching for them and they break. He tearfully conceals this fact from his mom, telling her an icicle fell on his face. Every year, thousands of people including children younger than Ralphie suffer injuries from BB and air guns. These aren’t toys, although I’m certain thousands of people will disagree with me on that. I did not have a BB gun as a kid, but I played with a cool, tooled toy cap gun that used a minuscule amount of gunpowder in the caps. I remember loving the way it smelled.
In a professional capacity, I have been privy to eye and head injury statistics over the last 10 years. During the time period that I was researching and promoting injury prevention, reality shows arose like Jackass, Scarred, and World of Stupid, as well as video games such as Grand Theft Auto. These glorify idiotic and dangerous behaviors and I find them revolting. I spoke firsthand to the physicians who treated horrific injuries caused by idiotic antics such as hot dogging on skateboards and car surfing. On the lighter side, sitcoms sometimes portray injuries with hilarity – a case in point is the Seinfeld episode called The Fusilli Jerry. Kramer makes pasta sculptures of his friends including one of Jerry using Fusilli pasta. George’s dad Frank falls on the Fusilli Jerry and they have to take him to a proctologist to have it removed.
It can be very disheartening when your parents age and are subjected to declining health. One of the most common health concerns among seniors is falling, and alas, this has happened far too many times to my dear mom. Having launched many PR/media campaigns on head injury prevention in my last position over the course of seven years, I know quite a bit about traumatic brain injury, causes, and statistics – and I am passionate about injury prevention. While my mom has fallen quite a few times and sustained broken bones as a result, this is the first time that a tumble has led to a serious head injury. I was quite upset when she called me from NYC (after having recovered sufficiently) and told me they walked back to the hotel after she fell outside the Chrysler Building. She was bleeding profusely from the wound sustained in her head, exacerbated by being on blood thinners. They should have called 911 immediately instead of walking back to the hotel and then calling an ambulance. My mom spent 17 hours on a gurney in the infamous Bellevue Hospital ER as a result of this fall, but the good news is that she did not suffer a concussion. And thankfully there was not a traumatic brain injury such as a subdural/epidural hematoma or skull fracture, which can be deadly.