When Ashley was 9, she was like most kids her age on a spring day – waste no time in getting home from school. The nicer weather meant being outdoors and seeing neighbors and friends out and about.
Ashley’s bike ride home that day took a scary turn – with a detour to the ER. But her good health 6 years later is a testament to the key role of bike helmets in preventing traumatic brain injuries.
Ashley’s bike accident happened on April 28, 2015, when she was in third grade at King Community Learning Center on Akron’s west side. Ashley, her older sister Madison, who was then a 5th grader, and another friend were about to hop on their bikes for the ride home when Madison insisted her little sister put on her bike helmet.
“Ashley didn’t want to mess up her hair, but Madison was insistent,” said Mike. “Madison even told Ashley that if she didn’t put on her helmet, she would lock Ashley’s bike to the school’s bike rack. Finally, Ashley put on her helmet.”
The girls were on a side street, nearing home, when Ashley’s bike hit a big pothole.
“She was going down a hill and was moving at a nice clip when she hit that hole,” Mike said. “She was launched over her bike and landed 30 feet away, face down on the pavement. Her winter jacket was ripped to threads.”
Neighbors who witnessed the accident called the girls’ parents, Mike and Missy, as well as 911. An ambulance brought Ashley to Akron Children’s ER.
She needed 10 stitches in her forehead, but doctors were happy to see that the badly damaged helmet had done its job in preventing a brain injury.
“Ashley passed the concussion tests and the ER doctors said that if she had not been wearing the helmet, we would surely have been looking at a very different outcome,” said Mike. “Ashley also damaged her 4 front teeth in the accident and had numerous visits to her general dentist, an orthodontist and endodontist. But even with this, we feel so very lucky. It could have been so much worse.”
Today, Ashley is a freshman at Firestone, runs cross country and plays softball. According to Mike, “Ashley has a huge heart and loves to encourage people by sending motivational quotes to them. In her spare time, she loves watching YouTube videos and watching Reels on Instagram.”
Her sister, Madison, is doing well, too. Madison is a junior at Firestone. Like her sister, she runs cross country and plays softball. Greys Anatomy, The Office and Impractical Jokers are some of her favorite shows.
The experience has led Mike and Missy to become advocates for bike helmets.
“We are more than willing to share our story,” he said. “We tell everyone to start having their kids wear bike helmets from the earliest age and let there be no exceptions. Tell your kids, ‘If you want to ride your bike – even for one block – you must wear your helmet.'”