Coping with Career-Changing Injuries
July 24, 2014
Originally featured in the 2014 summer edition of MADDvocate®.
Every 90 seconds, someone is injured in a drunk driving crash. And as we know, first there’s the crash, then the lifelong impact. No one should try to minimize the challenge of adjusting to a new future or letting go of an old life. The reality is that many injured victims must build new lives, and often that includes a new career.
Courageous injured victims Brittany Kirby and Chris Mann share how they successfully rebuilt their lives and their careers—one painful step at a time.
Bad Things Happen to Good People
On February 13, 2009, 19-year-old Brittany, her friend Rachel, and Rachel’s two young children were driving out of town for a Valentine’s Day weekend getaway. Without warning, a drunk driver with a BAC of .15 crossed the center lane of the Tennessee road they were traveling on, and hit their car head-on.
“I don’t remember the crash,” Brittany says. “My injuries included two shattered bones in my left arm, a shattered knee joint and a traumatic brain injury. I was on life support because of my brain injury and I had to undergo eight surgeries.”
Brittany was told that Rachel was in a medically induced coma to help her body heal. Rachel died two days later. Her two children survived.
Chris Mann was living his dream of being a law enforcement officer. He spent four successful years with the Lawrence, Kansas, Police Department. While on patrol and training a rookie officer in the early morning hours of January 11, 2002, his life was forever changed.
“We pulled an SUV with no taillights over,” Chris recalls. “It was a routine traffic stop, until I caught the flash of headlights coming toward me. I didn’t have time to move before I was hit.” Chris says he was walking in front of his patrol car when a drunk driver struck the car from behind, pushing the car into him, sending him airborne. “I landed unconscious on the side of the road, 30 feet from where I had been standing.” Miraculously nothing was broken, but the soft tissue damage to his leg was extensive.
After months of physical therapy he tried to go back to work, but his leg could not hold up. When he was removed from active duty, Chris had to contemplate what to do with the rest of his life.
Adjusting to life after an injury and learning to live with new limitations can be extremely frustrating. Injured victims must heal emotionally as well as physically.
Read the rest of this article in the MADDvocate.
Find More Resources
MADD offers brochures for crash victims, in English and Spanish, covering grief and healing, talking to children and teens about death, coping with serious injury, the criminal and civil court system, and more. Click here.
Support the Charitable Automobile Red-Tape Simplification (CARS) Act
July 23, 2014
Ask you lawmaker to support the CARS act to help MADD raise critical funding to save lives.
A new bill that can help MADD raise crucial funding to fulfill our mission was recently introduced, and we need your help to get it passed.
MADD’s vehicle donation program helps raise critical funds to eliminate drunk driving, but past efforts by Congress that were intended to enact strong safeguards to stem fraud and abuse have unintentionally discouraged potential donors.
According to the IRS, the number of cars donated the first year the new rules took effect dropped by 67 percent. Moreover, the corresponding value of those vehicle donations went down by 77 percent, meaning that donors stopped donating higher value cars that charities derive the greatest revenue.
The Charitable Automobile Red-Tape Simplification (CARS) Act, bipartisan legislation authored by Representatives Todd Young and Linda Sanchez, was just introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and would reform IRS rules to give potential donors a fair market value for donating their vehicle to MADD, or any charity that accepts vehicle donations.
Please write your Representative TODAY and ask them to support this important legislation.
July: A Dangerous Month for Teens
July 21, 2014
Power of Parents
Summer vacation for teens should be a time of fun and relaxation, summer camps and first jobs, volunteering and exploring. Unfortunately, for some, unsupervised time leads to alcohol and drug use.
July is the month when more young people start using alcohol and other substances than any other. On average in July, someone under age 18 begins:
- Drinking alcohol every eight seconds
- Smoking cigarettes every 17 seconds
- Using marijuana every 19 seconds
- Using inhalants every 47 seconds
This doesn’t even count the 18, 19 and 20 year olds who begin drinking during the month.
That’s the bad news; now the good news. If you are a teen, you should know that even though the risks are highest during the summer, most teens don’t drink. Less than 30 percent of teens have had a drink in the past month. A growing number of teens have decided to be an example for others through the Power of You(th) program.
Teens, click here to get our free teen booklet to learn how to take a stand against underage drinking.
If you are a parent, now’s the perfect time to start or renew the conversation with your teen about alcohol. You can learn how to have the conversation about alcohol effectively with our free Power of Parents handbook at www.madd.org/powerofparents.
Number of Adolescents Younger than 18 Using Alcohol for the First Time on an Average Day, by Month: 2002 to 2010