Students stress bike safety to Wallingford second-graders

Galen DiDomizio and second-grader
Quinnipiac student Galen DiDomizio fits a student in Sarah Krasnovsky's second-grade class at Wallingford's E.C. Stevens Elementary School with a new bicycle helmet.

May 28, 2014 - Two second-graders from Wallingford's E.C. Stevens Elementary School stood on the gymnasium stage cradling cantaloupes, one of which was stuffed inside a bicycle helmet.

After a countdown, the students dropped the cantaloupes onto the gym floor. The cantaloupe without the helmet split in half. The other was unscathed. 

The message was simple: Protect your melon. 

Ten Quinnipiac students, led by seniors Shara Benson and Adrianna Pacheco of the University's new Interprofessional Service Learning summer course, visited the elementary school May 28 to discuss the importance of wearing bicycle helmets. Representatives from the physical therapy and anesthesiology assistant programs as well as the School of Medicine also helped emphasize the message.

The presentation also included an impactful video about a boy who suffered a brain injury after falling from his bicycle, a traffic sign quiz and a gelatin brain mold. 

"They are learning through fun," said Benson, a health science studies major. "Children want that. They don't want a boring presentation or lecture. The want cantaloupes exploding and excitement."

At the end of the presentation, the Quinnipiac group distributed and properly fit free bicycle helmets to 120 students from six classes.

"I see a need for this in the community," said Pacheco, a health science studies major. "The kids look happy. They're getting free helmets and being kids."

Quinnipiac's Interprofessional Service Learning class is taught by Julie Booth, clinical assistant professor of physical therapy, Meghan McCaffrey, clinical assistant professor of athletic training and sports medicine and Tracy Van Oss, clinical associate professor of occupational therapy

"We have students from different disciplines working together and learning from each other about how to prevent injuries in the community," Van Oss said. "I'm hoping our Quinnipiac students will take this as a life lesson to go out and do other things in their own communities once they become health professionals. I'm also hoping that the elementary school students will get the message to wear a helmet every time they ride."

Second-grader Wilson Moya seemed to get the message loud and clear. 

"You don't want to get a concussion," he said. "We learned what can happen if you don't wear your helmet."