Averting Disaster With a Helmet Inspires Orem Owlz Assistant General Manager to Encourage Helmet Safety at this Year’s Brain Injury Awareness Night
For Jillian Dingee, Assistant General Manager for the Orem Owlz baseball team, celebrating “Brain Injury Awareness Night,” is more than a chance to work with another non-profit. It is about a personal family victory that includes her father, Don Dingee, avoiding the worst possible scenario, a serious brain injury in a bicycle/auto accident.
During a twelve mile ride in Chandler, Arizona, Don donned a bicycle helmet, as he always did as he rode on a familiar, flat loop. Throughout the ride he stayed in the bike lane, kept his helmet securely fastened, and was enjoying the day. As he came to an intersection, a driver made a right hand turn on a red light, not seeing him. Disaster struck as Don splattered up against the back door of the vehicle, and rolled onto the pavement.
In describing his accident Don Dingee recalls, “The brain bucket was still attached to the rider when he came to on the pavement, and fortunately there were no major leaks.”
By all accounts, like the dent left on the hood of the vehicle, the cracks in the helmet worn, and the commotion caused in the accident, Don’s life could have been in serious jeopardy. After going to the hospital, the only damage sustained was a broken pelvic bone, a bruised elbow and three months of post-concussive symptoms, mostly intermittent dizziness and difficulty concentrating.
Dingee recounts, “There could have been far worse damage. Folks in the hospital were amazed at the rider’s recovery, and attributed the results to him being in fairly good physical shape and wearing a helmet. (Yeah, and you should see what that car looks like.)”
The accident took place more than a year ago. Most of the lasting effects of his injury have past. Jillian says, “I don’t want to imagine if it went the other way when my mom called, what would have happened if he wasn’t wearing a helmet. One choice.”
Now Jillian’s inspiration for bringing BIAU to the Orem Owlz’ game for Brain Injury Awareness Night is about preventing others from experiencing a brain injury, by being cautious and prepared with wearing a helmet. “Besides having my own story, bringing the story to the ball game is about educating people. We are about helping others, and branching out to the community. Our ownership group is on board in promoting helmet safety. Our guys sometimes get hit with 90 mph balls in the head. One player suffered severe head trauma, he was out for a long time. We want to educate the community about the severe consequence that come without a helmet.”
For only $4, tickets are available to purchase for Thursday night’s game through our website at BIAU.ORG, until tomorrow, Wednesday, August 21st. They will be available to pick up at will call. Supporting this event helps provide financial resources for the Brain Injury Alliance of Utah. 100% of the services we render the Utah population are free of charge. We rely on our community supporters, and grants to keep our doors open. Please join us for a fun night of baseball, education and good, old fashion fun!