Seat Belts Should Always be Worn

Ana Claudia - Ames, Iowa
Entered on January 12, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks

At a young age I was taught to always wear a seatbelt no matter where I was headed, even if it was a thirty-second trip. My parents always enforced this rule, and I never questioned it; I never disobeyed. I understood that seat belts are made to save lives, but I didn’t fully grasp that meaning until Wednesday, December 3, 2008.

As a competitive soccer player, I get to know my teammates extremely well. We do everything together during the core of the season, and after awhile they are not only my teammates or friends, they are my sisters. And the most agonizing thing to endure is watching one of your family members suffer.

I was eating dinner with my family when my cell phone started vibrating in my pocket; I looked at the caller and noticed it was one of my teammates. I thought to my self, “ Oh crap did we have an indoor game that I didn’t know about. Maybe I should just let it ring and just call her back later.” But I felt some pull that I needed to pick up this call.

I picked up the phone and on the other side I heard my teammate crying.

“Kari, what’s wrong, what’s wrong?” I began to question.

“It’s Liz, she has been in an accident,” my teammate, Kari, said.

“Accident? What kind of accident? Is she ok, is she ok?” I started to yell and sob.

“She was in a car accident. She is in the hospital, in the pediatric intensive care unit; we can’t go see her or anything. They say she is in a comma. And that she hit her head really hard. I don’t know anything else, I don’t know what is going to happen to her,” she whimpered.

One of my sisters, Elizabeth, was in a car accident on Wednesday, December 3, 2008. The driver hit an ice patch and was sent to the next lane, where it collided with a huge pickup with a snowplow attached to the front bumper. The passenger side, where Elizabeth was sitting, received the most damage. Elizabeth wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. She hit her head, broke her collarbone and a rib, and one of her lungs collapsed.

Elizabeth was rushed to the hospital, where doctors worked hard to save her life. Her brain pressure was a 55 when she arrived at the hospital – a normal person’s is around 5. The doctors had to drill a hole in her head to try and release some pressure.

Elizabeth has been in the hospital for more than a month and still lies in a comma as I write this essay. She is slowly making some movements and occasionally opens her eyes, yet she isn’t fully there. I have faith that she will get through this, but I know that she will never be able to play soccer again. The doctors don’t know the full extent of her head injures or in what condition she will awaken.

I know a seatbelt wouldn’t have made Elizabeth injury free, yet it would have restrained her and maybe she wouldn’t have hit her head so hard. Maybe she wouldn’t be lying in a comma right now, and maybe she could play soccer again. I never want to be in a situation like this, and I never want to see anyone in this condition again. From now on I will always where my seatbelt – I’ll put it on even before I put the key in the ignition