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Brain Armor
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I can still remember it, though I’ve tried to erase it from my memory over and over. It was a warm, summer afternoon, and my family and I were going for a bike ride down the paved, country road near our home. It was a beautiful day, and everything was perfect and peaceful.

At the end of the road before it merges with the highway, is a relatively steep hill. When we reached the top, one of us came up with the brilliant idea to coast down the hill without using our brakes to see who would go the farthest. We all thought it was a nice idea, and began the descent.

There was only one slight problem. None of us were wearing helmets. But that thought did not enter my mind as I began to gain momentum. Halfway down the hill I turned my head to see how far ahead of my brother I was. But without meaning to, I turned my handlebars along with my head, and down with a mighty crash I went. My face went over the handlebars and skidded along the pavement, and my wrist took a hard wrench.

I Don't Like to Remember

I don’t like to remember much after that. I sat up, and Mom let out a huge gasp when she saw my face. I started crying. Mom took off on her bike, faster than I’ve ever seen her go, to get the van to come back and get me. Back at home my parents applied ice to my face. That was when I noticed that I had knocked loose my two front teeth. What a disturbing thing for a nine-year-old who hadn’t had her new front teeth for long!

It took a week before I would even look in the mirror. But nature’s healing ways took over and my face healed up slowly but surely. Even my front teeth eventually firmed up. Within a month you could not tell that anything had happened, except one lasting mark. A scar was left in between my upper lip and nose. To this day I have the same scar. But thankfully it is not so noticeable since it is vertical. When I smile you can’t see it at all.

Before riding a bike without a helmet, I'll think again. In 2009, ninety-one percent of bicyclists killed were not wearing a helmet. (Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute) Helmets protect our heads against concussions, and serious damage. They can also help shield our faces from cuts, bruises, and a broken nose, since the front of the helmet will take the brunt of the fall. So, the next time you decide to go for a bike ride, wear a helmet! I can vouch for it.

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By Brenna Rittenour. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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