Save your life: wear a helmet

Fortunately, these are the only head injuries Carmelo, Dextra Hoffman's fiancée, sustained in a recent motorcycle accident. If he had worn a helmet, he would not have sustained those injuries. Servicemembers must wear helmets and other safety gear at all times, even in states where helmet wear is optional.

Fortunately, these are the only head injuries Carmelo Baez, Dextra Hoffman's significant other, sustained in a recent motorcycle accident. If he had worn a helmet, he would not have sustained those injuries. Servicemembers must wear helmets and other safety gear at all times, even in states where helmet wear is optional.

PHOENIX -- I got a call while I was at work not long ago from a woman I didn't know asking me if I knew Carmelo Baez. I said yes, then wondered why I heard traffic and an ambulance. She told me he'd been in a motorcycle accident, and the ambulance was there to take him to the hospital. 

I asked how he was. She said he was not able to talk and that the paramedics were taking him to the trauma center, and explained where that was. I yelled to my boss on my way out the door why I was leaving and arrived at the hospital minutes before the ambulance. 

My boyfriend was fine, aside from looking like roadkill. I saw the paramedics pull him out on a stretcher with the neck brace on, and I nearly freaked out. 

"Hey honey, fancy seein' you here!" he said as they took him inside. 

I wasn't allowed to see him until after they took the X-rays, but technicians kept me busy with paperwork. One of the paramedics came by to give me Carmelo's wallets and the shreds of clothes they had to cut off him. I asked about his helmet. 

He wasn't wearing one. 

When I finally got to go see him, he was lying on a board, all scraped and bloody. He was cracking jokes, as I figured he would be. He had sustained road rash on his arms, knees and ribs. A chunk had been knocked out of his nose and forehead, and he had a nasty cut on his head as well. 

According to the woman who called me, he was riding at about the speed limit in the center lane. There was a car in front of him and a big truck to his left. The car in front of him made a sudden stop in the middle of the road. He tried to stop but couldn't. 

He said he put his front brakes on a little too hard, and the next thing he knew he was flying over the handlebars straight down to the pavement, face and knees first. A witness thought he had hit his head on the truck, but Carmelo's not so sure. Both the car and the truck took off, and no one identified the vehicles. 

It is a miracle he even survived, much less came away without anything broken. In my own messed-up way, I showed my affection and appreciation for his safety by chewing him out for not wearing either of his two helmets.

His full-face helmet had been on the back of the bike and was damaged in the accident. 
 
As much as I've gotten on his case about wearing his helmet, it took this accident to finally convince him to swear to wear it from now on. Maybe he learned his lesson. I don't know what I would have done if I'd lost him.