Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa and Iowa Women’s basketball members team up in new video

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With over 95,000 Iowans living with long term disability from brain injuries, it’s no wonder the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa (BIAIA) has a mission of creating a better future through brain injury prevention, advocacy, education, research and support for all Iowans. The next step in that mission is teaming up with the University of Iowa Women’s basketball program to raise awareness through a video highlighting the importance of wearing helmets in reducing brain injuries.

The BIAIA has hopes of getting Iowa to adopt a helmet law requiring minors driving motorcycles and mopeds to wear a helmet. At this time, Iowa is one of only three states with no helmet laws at all.

The BIAIA is working on persuading the state legislature to pass a helmet law for minors during its next session. As part of this effort, the BIAIA has just released a video highlighting the absence of helmet laws in the state. The video was made in collaboration with the University of Iowa Hawkeyes Women’s Basketball Team, and features Coach Lisa Bluder, and former UI player and recent graduate Ally Disterhoft, discussing their personal experiences.

Nearly 20 years ago Bluder’s husband, Dave, was struck by a car while he was walking, and suffered a severe and life-threatening traumatic brain injury (TBI). “Dave was unconscious for over 70 hours,” Bluder recalls. Fortunately, after months of rehabilitation, he made a complete recovery.

Coach Lisa Bluder during practice at Carver Hawkeye Arena on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. — photo by Jason Smith

Informed by her experience with her husband’s TBI and committed to the health and safety of the young athletes under her supervision, Coach Bluder has a long-standing rule for student athletes on her team: They are required to wear helmets while riding their bicycle, moped or motorcycle.

Also starring in the video is former Iowa basketball standout Disterhoft, who discusses the loss of her best friend, West High School volleyball player Caroline “Line” Found. Found died in a tragic 2011 accident in Iowa City, when she lost control of her moped and struck a tree.

Former basketball player and recent University of Iowa graduate Ally Disterhoft during an interview for the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. — photo by Jason Smith

Disterhoft supports a helmet law requiring helmets for drivers under 18 — an initiative that BIAIA has advocated for in the past, in partnership with Hope for a Helmet, an organization created by other friends of Found in response to the tragedy of her death. BIAIA, with the support of the Found family and Hope for a Helmet, plans to reintroduce the under-18 helmet legislation to the Iowa Legislature next year, with a new name: “Line’s Law.” The group tried changing legislation and introducing a bill into State Senate in 2012.

“It is time again to bring this important issue back into the light,” said BIAIA Executive Director Geoffrey Lauer. The group is hoping their video will help more people understand the impact a helmet law can have in saving lives.

Iowa Hawkeyes women’s basketball player putting on a helmet before leaving practice on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. — photo by Jason Smith

For more information on “Line’s Law,” please visit the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa

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