MountainStar Health - September 01, 2020
by Craig Bielik

Taunia Couch is the Trauma Injury Prevention Coordinator at Ogden Regional Medical Center, northern Utah's longest standing accredited Trauma Center, where she is responsible for the overall planning, development and oversight of the Trauma Injury Prevention Program.

The objectives of the program are to educate the community about injury prevention and trauma care; to indirectly decrease death and injury by improving trauma care within the region and to raise the visibility of the Trauma Center through increasing public awareness. Taunia accomplishes this by conducting public presentations and attending events to speak with people in the community about injury prevention.

On one bright and sunny afternoon earlier this summer , Taunia conducted an impromptu injury prevention session and saw results in – real–time!She was outside her home and noticed her neighbor and family riding a long–board without helmets. Taunia knows first-hand the risks of participating in sports like this without helmets very well. In fact, Skateboard–related injuries are associated with a high incidence of traumatic brain injury. She didn't want to see her friends get hurt.

Luckily, Taunia remembered that she had helmets left over from a recent event she had attended. Ogden Regional had sponsored the family outdoor–recreation themed event and offered free helmets to anyone who needed one.

She called her friend and her friend's two daughters over to where she was and asked why they were riding without helmets. Her friend stated that she knew she shouldn't be but that they didn't own helmets. Taunia took the opportunity to talk to them about the many preventable injuries she has seen in her job as a result of people not wearing helmets.

She quickly fitted the family with the Ogden Regional helmets she had on hand, snapped a few photos of the happy family, and they gratefully went on their way.

Minutes later, Tauunia received a text message from the mother:

“Well that came just in time…since I had a helmet I thought I'd try turning. I fell off the back of the skateboard and hit my helmet on the pavement! You were meant to be! Thank you! You are awesome thank you. Tell your job you saved a life today!”

The mother included a photo of the helmet showing a sizable dent in the back. That dent could have been a potentially serious brain injury without a helmet.

“I always hope that the education and effort that I put into our community will help save someone's life or prevent them from being hurt, but I rarely get to see actual results,” Taunia said “This time I not only got to see how I made a difference but I got to see it very quickly. It feels great to know that I really helped.”