Memorial Hospital once again has ensured that every child in its community that wants a ski helmet, gets one, regardless of their family’s ability to pay. It’s all part of a helmet safety initiative to ensure that local school children have appropriate helmets for their participation in elementary ski programs including the Eastern Slope Ski Club’s (ESSC) Junior Ski Program in the Conway School District and, new this year, the Fryeburg Junior Ski Program.
Memorial Hospital Foundation created the Roger C. Clapp Memorial Ski Helmet Fund to help put “a lid on every kid.” Clapp, who passed away in 2013, was a hospital trustee for many years and a passionate lifelong skier. Family and friends make memorial donations to the fund and continue to encourage contributions to it. Special thanks this year go to former hospital trustee Phil Davies, who served alongside Roger Clapp for many years and this year made a generous gift to ensure that the program continue again this year. Additional contributors to the program include many employees who give through a special employee giving program.
The National Ski Areas Association reports on their website that while skiing or boarding responsibly is the first priority for safety, helmets are an important second line of defense. The group reports that wearing helmets can decrease the risk of head injury by 10 to 50 percent. It can also mean the difference between a major head injury and a minor head injury, or between a minor head injury and no injury at all.
“Memorial Hospital provides many healthcare services to help injured skiers and snowboarders, from fixing broken bones to physical therapy, athletic training and concussion care, but our preference is to help skiers and riders to prevent injuries in the first place,” said Jessica Stewart, Athletic Trainer at Orthopedics at Memorial Hospital. “We are lucky that we have the Roger C. Clapp Helmet program to help local children prevent head injuries.”
Many families face difficult financial situations at home which can make it hard for them to find the funds for equipment. As families may struggle to pay for basic necessities, things like skiing equipment may not be a part of their budget. That’s what makes this program so important for students who may not be able to afford it on their own.
This year, over 200 helmets were distributed to students in December, prior to the start of the youth ski program season. To qualify for a free helmet, students must be enrolled in the school’s free/reduced rate meals program while others have the opportunity to purchase helmets at a significant discount.
Anyone wishing to donate to the Roger Ski Clapp Helmet Fund may find more information at www.memorialhospitalnh.org/ways-to-give/make-a-donation or call 603-356-5461, x2269.