STONY BROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A day of skateboarding almost claimed the life of a Long Island teenager who though that skating without a helmet was the cool thing to do. Now, Arielle Budnick is on the road to recovery and has a message to send to other teen skateboarders.
“None of this would have happened if I was wearing a helmet,” she told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan on Thursday.
Across Long Island teens are posting their own skateboarding videos on YouTube, many of them are helmetless.
“I didn’t even think to wear a helmet. I wasn’t used to wearing one. I didn’t see it as important. I just thought that wearing a helmet makes you dorky and nerdy,” Budnick explained.
Last Memorial Day Budnick was skateboarding to the beach in Southampton.
“We were skateboarding and I went down a hill and I was going too fast, and I fell,” she said.
Budnick was lying crumpled at the curb with a fractured skull. She was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital, where doctors fought to save her life.
“A high risk of having permanent and disabling brain damage, if not dying,” Dr. Frederick Gutman told CBS 2.
For a while things were touch and go for Budnick, who had to go through a year of surgeries and rehabilitation, but eventually her memory came back.
Budnick is now on a mission to spread the message that helmets save lives, and so are the doctors who saved her life.
“Arielle, on behalf of Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, we would like to present you with this helmet, which we think is very cool,” officials said during a ceremony.
There are no laws that require skateboarders to wear helmets. Bicycle riders over the age of 14 are also exempt from wearing helmets.
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