It was a night like many others for young men and women with their first tastes of freedom – a couple of friends, a couple of drinks and some harmless fun.
After putting a few down, the group drove to the dead end of a residential block in their bathing suits – daring each other to run through the backyards of the neighborhood and jump into any pool they happened upon along the way.
When they reached the front of the neighborhood, they stared directly at a high school and realized that there was a pool inside where they wouldn’t be bothered.
Ignoring the caution tape, a woman climbed the ladder to the highest diving board to show off to her friends. She jumped from the diving board in a beautiful swan dive landing squarely and harshly into the concrete floor of the pool.
When paramedics arrived, there was nothing they could do, the young woman’s spine was broken and protruded through her lifeless body.
So why did no one in this young group of friends tell her that there was no water in the pool? Despite the caution tape, no one noticed.
This true tale, the back-story behind a 1980s commercial about drinking and judgment, was just one of several told at the Street Smart production presented by Stay Alive from Education, Inc. at the Lee Playhouse last week.
Hundreds of advanced individual training students and Soldiers packed the Playhouse to see the presentation.
“All we’re here to do today is tell you what happens if you make poor choices,” said Chris Stocks, Orlando, Fla., firefighter-paramedic and Street Smart presenter.
The Street Smart presentation continued with graphic images of car accidents. The images displayed what paramedics see on a regular basis when pulling up on a scene – heads split open, eyes out of their sockets and legs wrapped around bodies in ways never intended.
“I’d like to tell you we took a bunch of actors and put make up on them to make them nasty, but I can’t tell you that,” said Stocks. “Every person in those pictures was real and every person in those pictures is dead.”
According to SAFE, car crashes are the number one killer of military personnel during peacetime.
“The majority of those are alcohol-related and do not require us to cut off the victim’s seatbelt – because they aren’t wearing them,” Stocks said.
Street Smart presenters then take the audience on a tour of sorts. It begins with the help of a volunteer Soldier from the audience, at a party where a few drinks are consumed, and it ends at a trauma center.
In the tour, Orlando, Fla., firefighter-paramedic Scott McIntyre describes the driver crashing into a dump truck on the way home and describes how a body moves through a car during a crash when a seat belt is not used.
That’s when the tour turns medical. Paramedics arrive and assess the victim. Doing what they can, the victim is airlifted to the nearest trauma center where emergency room doctors and nurses take over.
“Our volunteer suffered a lung collapse, severe head injury, spinal cord injury, internal bleeding and many broken bones including the ribs and knees,” described McIntyre.
Despite the description of what is wrong with the patient, it’s the cures that sound painful – a tracheotomy and a needle through the chest for the collapsed lung, surgery for the internal bleeding, head injury and broken bones, all without benefit of pain medication.
“And what is the cure for a spinal injury, ladies and gentlemen,” Stocks said. “That’s right, there is none.”
“Fifty percent of all spinal cord injuries are the result of car crashes where the person did not wear a seat belt.
The Street Smart presentation ended with a myriad of statistics, saving the most chilling one for last. “Statistically, two people in this room will die of trauma,” concluded Stocks.