Mungall says ‘I Will’, Supports Helmet Use On Ski Hills

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MLA Michelle Mungall honoured the life of Will Schooler and the growing “I Will” campaign in the Legislature Tuesday. The ‘I WILL’ campaign, started by friends and family of recently deceased, Will Schooler, encourages snowboarders and skiers to make the commitment to wearing their helmets. Schooler died late 2011 after sustaining a head injury while skiing. Uncharacteristically, he was not wearing his helmet at the time.

“Before I WILL,  I didn’t know that skiing and snowboarding lead to twice as many hospitalizations as hockey. One study found that traumatic brain injuries account for more than half the fatalities at ski hills,” Mungall noted in her speech.

Mungall’s statement noted her own turning point in learning the importance of wearing a helmet while on the slopes. In 2002, she sustained a head injury, which could have been prevented had she worn a helmet. It has been obvious to her since then that the benefits of helmets are life-saving. However, her age group remains the most reluctant to wear helmets.

“I admit that I used to think helmets were an unnecessary part of my snowboarding equipment,” says Mungall. “It had to take a head injury to prove me wrong. I Will is about commemorating Will Schooler and sharing these lessons so that no one learns the hard way anymore.”

She hopes that the growing trend to donning helmets on the ski hill will continue, and with the help of campaigns and foundations like I WILL, more people will educate themselves and their loved ones about the benefits helmets have for their safety and continued enjoyment of the sports.

“Every skier and snowboarder has the ability to pay tribute to Will, while also having a tremendous positive impact on their own life. Say “I WILL” wear a helmet when you hit the slopes, the backcountry or urban rails. I know I will.”

Watch the Video Transcript here.

DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

(HANSARD)

HOUSE BLUES

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2012

Afternoon Sitting

CAMPAIGN FOR HELMET USE
BY SNOWBOARDERS AND SKIERS

M. Mungall: In January 2002 you could find me on my snowboard, ripping it up at my local hill, Whitewater winter resort. At 24 years old, I was invincible — no need for a helmet. Plus I figured I looked kind of goofy in one. In March 2002 I was still ripping it up on the slopes, but this time I had a helmet. So what happened in February? I left the hill in an ambulance because of a head injury, an injury that would have easily been prevented had I been wearing a helmet. I was lucky — only seven stitches.
This past November a young Selkirk College student in Nelson was not so lucky. Will Schooler passed away on November 28, 2011, from head injuries sustained while skiing. Uncharacteristically, he was not wearing a helmet.
Will hailed from my hometown, Edmonton. He was a fun-loving, kind-hearted young man, so it didn’t take him long to make many friends in Nelson. When those friends and his family had to say goodbye to Will, they decided to honour his life with “I Will.” Reminding people that helmets save lives, the “I Will” campaign is reaching out to skiers and snowboarders to put their lids on before heading down the hill.
Since it started just a few months ago, “I Will” has grown into a foundation that’s motivating people to learn more about why helmets should be just as important as boots, boards and bindings. For example, before “I Will” I didn’t know that skiing and snowboarding lead to twice as many hospitalizations as hockey. One study found that traumatic brain injuries account for more than half the fatalities at ski hills, and while helmet use is on the rise, with the majority of skiers and boarders wearing them, it is still my age group who are the most reluctant.
So every skier and snowboarder has the ability to pay tribute to Will while also having a tremendous, positive impact on their own life. Say, “I will wear a helmet,” when you hit the slopes, the back country or urban rails. I know I will.