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Michigan lawmakers push helmet requirement for skiers, snowboarders
Grand Rapids Press ^ | 1/26/08

Posted on 01/26/2008 7:36:44 AM PST by Mr. Brightside

Michigan lawmakers push helmet requirement for skiers, snowboarders

by CLAY TAYLOR | Capital News Service Saturday

January 26, 2008, 9:34 AM

LANSING - Downhill skiers and snowboarders without head protection may find a hefty fine waiting for them at the bottom of the slope.

A new bill by Rep. Bob Constan calling for mandatory helmets comes fast on the heels of a fatal skiing accident in December.

Clare Dougherty, 13, of Canton Township died from a head injury on Shanty Creek Resort's Schuss Mountain in Bellaire. She was pronounced dead on arrival at Kalkaska Memorial Health Center on Christmas Day.

Authorities said a helmet could have prevented her death.

"We can't say for sure in any one instance what the outcome would have been, but for certain accidents there is no question it would help," said Jim Austin, the hospital's administrator. "It's just like wearing seat belts. They save lives, just not all lives."

Safety is the bill's primary concern, Constan said.

"We require that people wear helmets in other situations," Constan said. "People knowing that helmets are available is not enough."

Constan said the bill, which has support from the Dearborn and Dearborn Heights Ski Clubs, was inspired by constituents who had family members injured while skiing and snowboarding.

The bill calls for a $100 fine for those caught without helmets, but Constan said that fines would not be strictly enforced.

"I don't want to see someone with a $100 fine who's an experienced skier," Constan said, "but the time has come to encourage people to wear helmets when skiing."

Co-sponsors include Reps. Coleman Young, D-Detroit, and Aldo Vagnozzi, D-Farmington Hills.

Most of Michigan's ski resorts - including Apple Mountain Resort, Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands, Crystal Mountain, Nub's Nob Ski Area and Snowsnake Ski and Golf - provide helmets to rent for about $5-$10 a day.

There is industry opposition to the idea.

In a statement, Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain said while helmet use is encouraged, "we don't think this new legislation is the way to go. We believe that helmets are a good idea but not necessarily for all skiing and riding situations."

That sentiment was echoed by John Cleary, general manager of Snowsnake in Harrison.

"I think it should be left up to the individual," Cleary said. "We recommend it, but we believe it's a matter of personal preference."

He said most skiers at Snowsnake wear helmets, and anyone participating in freestyle events must wear one.

He said he isn't sure how often Snowsnake's skiers suffer head injuries.

"It's not a real frequent thing," he said. "It's hard to put a number on it."

A report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission notes that head injuries account for 14 percent of skiing and snowboarding accidents, as well as 56 percent of related deaths.

No other states have laws that require helmet use, according to the National Ski Areas Association, a trade organization for ski area owners and operators headquartered in Colorado.

The association says that on average 38 people died each year for the past 10 years from skiing or snowboarding accidents. An average of 42 people suffered serious injuries, which includes head injuries.

NSAA President Michael Berry said that it's most important to encourage dialogue about the responsibility of making educated decisions regarding helmet use, rather than making helmet use mandatory.

"You shouldn't put one on and think that's all you need to do," Berry said.

He recommends that skiers wear helmets, but ski as if they're not.

The bill, which would amend a 1962 law that outlines basic skiing regulations, is under review by the House Tourism, Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resources Committee.Authorities said a helmet could have prevented her death.

"We can't say for sure in any one instance what the outcome would have been, but for certain accidents there is no question it would help," said Jim Austin, the hospital's administrator. "It's just like wearing seat belts. They save lives, just not all lives."

Safety is the bill's primary concern, Constan said.

"We require that people wear helmets in other situations," Constan said. "People knowing that helmets are available is not enough."

Constan said the bill, which has support from the Dearborn and Dearborn Heights Ski Clubs, was inspired by constituents who had family members injured while skiing and snowboarding.

The bill calls for a $100 fine for those caught without helmets, but Constan said that fines would not be strictly enforced.

"I don't want to see someone with a $100 fine who's an experienced skier," Constan said, "but the time has come to encourage people to wear helmets when skiing."

Co-sponsors include Reps. Coleman Young, D-Detroit, and Aldo Vagnozzi, D-Farmington Hills.

Most of Michigan's ski resorts - including Apple Mountain Resort, Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands, Crystal Mountain, Nub's Nob Ski Area and Snowsnake Ski and Golf - provide helmets to rent for about $5-$10 a day.

There is industry opposition to the idea.

In a statement, Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain said while helmet use is encouraged, "we don't think this new legislation is the way to go. We believe that helmets are a good idea but not necessarily for all skiing and riding situations."

That sentiment was echoed by John Cleary, general manager of Snowsnake in Harrison.

"I think it should be left up to the individual," Cleary said. "We recommend it, but we believe it's a matter of personal preference."

He said most skiers at Snowsnake wear helmets, and anyone participating in freestyle events must wear one.

He said he isn't sure how often Snowsnake's skiers suffer head injuries.

"It's not a real frequent thing," he said. "It's hard to put a number on it."

A report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission notes that head injuries account for 14 percent of skiing and snowboarding accidents, as well as 56 percent of related deaths.

No other states have laws that require helmet use, according to the National Ski Areas Association, a trade organization for ski area owners and operators headquartered in Colorado.

The association says that on average 38 people died each year for the past 10 years from skiing or snowboarding accidents. An average of 42 people suffered serious injuries, which includes head injuries.

NSAA President Michael Berry said that it's most important to encourage dialogue about the responsibility of making educated decisions regarding helmet use, rather than making helmet use mandatory.

"You shouldn't put one on and think that's all you need to do," Berry said.

He recommends that skiers wear helmets, but ski as if they're not.

The bill, which would amend a 1962 law that outlines basic skiing regulations, is under review by the House Tourism, Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resources Committee.


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Michigan
KEYWORDS: helmets; nannystate; ski
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1 posted on 01/26/2008 7:36:46 AM PST by Mr. Brightside
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To: Mr. Brightside

I’ve seen people take nasty falls walking down the sidewalk. Helmets for everybody! When you leave your house, put it on. In fact, wear one all the time!


2 posted on 01/26/2008 7:41:16 AM PST by petercooper (It's called subprime for a reason.)
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To: petercooper
I’ve seen people take nasty falls walking down the sidewalk. Helmets for everybody! When you leave your house, put it on. In fact, wear one all the time!

Don't forget to wear a condom!

3 posted on 01/26/2008 7:42:27 AM PST by Mr Ramsbotham (Laws against sodomy are honored in the breech.)
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To: Mr. Brightside

And he is a republican.


4 posted on 01/26/2008 7:42:49 AM PST by Bear_Slayer (When liberty is outlawed only outlaws will have liberty.)
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To: Mr. Brightside

The biggest mystery of all: how did Rep. Bob Constan grow up without any understanding whatsoever of the concept of “liberty”?


5 posted on 01/26/2008 7:44:09 AM PST by The Electrician ("Government is the only enterprise in the world which expands in size when its failures increase.")
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To: Mr. Brightside

I’d like to introduce an amendment to also require helmet use while participating in a session of the Michigan State Legislature.


6 posted on 01/26/2008 7:45:16 AM PST by xjcsa (Thompson/Romney 2008)
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To: Mr. Brightside

We had a 7th grader die last year at my son’s school due to head injury from skiing, but I haven’t heard any cry for mandatory helmets. Most people accept the risk as part of skiing.


7 posted on 01/26/2008 7:45:42 AM PST by neodad (USS Vincennes (CG 49) "Checkmate Cruiser")
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To: Bear_Slayer
And he is a republican.

So is Mike Huckabee, allegedly.

8 posted on 01/26/2008 7:45:57 AM PST by xjcsa (Thompson/Romney 2008)
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To: petercooper

I would like to walk out on the lake and see if these guys are having any luck icefishing. Unfortunately I don’t have any approved ice walking armor.


9 posted on 01/26/2008 7:46:36 AM PST by cripplecreek (Duncan Hunter, Conservative excellence in action.)
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To: Bear_Slayer; Mr. Brightside
My mistake. He is a democrat.

It's hard to tell anymore.

10 posted on 01/26/2008 7:47:01 AM PST by Bear_Slayer (When liberty is outlawed only outlaws will have liberty.)
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To: xjcsa

My mistake. The guy is a democrat. It’s just so hard to tell anymore. Both parties come up with some anti-liberty hating laws and regulations.


11 posted on 01/26/2008 7:48:08 AM PST by Bear_Slayer (When liberty is outlawed only outlaws will have liberty.)
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To: petercooper
"I’ve seen people take nasty falls walking down the sidewalk. Helmets for everybody! When you leave your house, put it on. In fact, wear one all the time!"

You know the first time I saw the scene in the Matrix where Neo goes through the looking glass and wakes up in his "pod" I thought it was the most paranoid bit of movie making ever.

Now I wonder if the Wachowski Brothers have some secret time machine and went and scouted the future for real.

I swear the nanny-state-libs will have us all in little pods to protect us from the dangers of life before its over with.

12 posted on 01/26/2008 7:49:33 AM PST by Mad Dawgg ("`Eddies,' said Ford, `in the space-time continuum.' `Ah,' nodded Arthur, `is he? Is he?'")
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To: grellis

For your socialist state of MI ping list.


13 posted on 01/26/2008 7:50:32 AM PST by netmilsmom (Financing James Marsden's kid's college fund, 1 ticket, 1 DVD at a time.)
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To: Mr. Brightside
Hey, how about instead of requiring helmets, we remove the objects these people are skiing into? Trees, poles that hold the lifts up, fences.... Doesn’t sound too practical, does it?

In the early 80’s, my cousin skied into a tree. A helmet wouldn’t have made any difference, he died of massive chest injuries.

Let’s just call it what it is: Acceptable risk. Maybe there's too much “there must be someone we can blame! This must be someone’s fault!”

14 posted on 01/26/2008 7:50:54 AM PST by blu
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To: petercooper
Mandatory life preservers at all Michigan beaches!
15 posted on 01/26/2008 7:51:21 AM PST by Mr. Brightside
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To: blu
If you ski like this...

you need a helmet.

On the bunny hills, I'm not so sure.

16 posted on 01/26/2008 7:57:42 AM PST by netmilsmom (Financing James Marsden's kid's college fund, 1 ticket, 1 DVD at a time.)
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To: petercooper

Pretty soon we’ll all have to wear goalie outfits twenty four seven and ride short busses....

DEE DE DE!!!


17 posted on 01/26/2008 8:06:33 AM PST by Crim (Dont frak with the Zeitgeist....)
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To: Bear_Slayer

Is that the bear slayer I know?


18 posted on 01/26/2008 8:08:04 AM PST by Crim (Dont frak with the Zeitgeist....)
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To: Mr. Brightside

Al those arrogant pricks said, “Great. It’ll save me a nickel.” when they passed the motorcycle helmet laws.

What goes around comes around. ROTFL!


19 posted on 01/26/2008 8:11:07 AM PST by Seruzawa
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To: Mr. Brightside
If this passes, it will destroy the skiing industry in this country. As much as I love to ski, I will not go to any slope that insists I succumb to the nanny state.

Resort operators take note: there are millions of other skiers who feel the same way. It is in your best interest to fight this buttinsky-ism with all your might.

20 posted on 01/26/2008 8:14:26 AM PST by IronJack (=)
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To: Mr. Brightside

Michigan lawmakers push helmet requirement for skiers, snowboarders....

the Michigan lawmakers also push for taxes on helmet for skiers, snowboarders....


21 posted on 01/26/2008 8:22:58 AM PST by nyyankeefan
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To: Mr. Brightside

“First, they came for the motorcyclists...but I wasn’t a motorcyclist....”


22 posted on 01/26/2008 8:26:19 AM PST by PalmettoMason (Ted Kennedy is "one of the most principled men I've ever met." Lindsay Graham)
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To: Mr. Brightside

LOL at the idea that Michigan has big enough ski hills that anyone needs a helmet there.


23 posted on 01/26/2008 8:35:30 AM PST by Young Scholar
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To: IronJack

I would guess that about 70% of skiers in the US already wear helmets. In europe the number is much smaller. Maybe 10%. I never wore one until I saw a skier get killed by a snowboarder near Cordoba a few years ago. The snowboarder came over a rise and hit the skier directly in the head with the board. The first year I wore it, it saved me from getting my head sliced open after a collision with another skier. One of our edges from a lose ski cut a big slice into the front of my helmet. They are also great for keeping your head much warmer and being able to stay out for a couple more runs.


24 posted on 01/26/2008 8:40:27 AM PST by Kirkwood
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To: Mr. Brightside
You gotta problem with that?


25 posted on 01/26/2008 8:41:46 AM PST by BallyBill (Serial Hit-N-Run poster)
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To: netmilsmom

Helmets are mandatory with our family, whether we are snowboarding, biking or riding dirt bikes (a helmet is just one of the many pieces of gear we wear while riding dirt bikes).

I have seen too many out of control people on the slopes to not strap on a helmet. It is better than nothing.


26 posted on 01/26/2008 8:51:27 AM PST by WV Mountain Mama (My only resolution this year is to make a bigger carbon foot print.)
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To: Mr. Brightside; Just another Joe; CSM; lockjaw02; Publius6961; elkfersupper; nopardons; metesky; ...

Nanny State Ping!!!!!!!!


27 posted on 01/26/2008 8:52:11 AM PST by Gabz (Don't tell my mom I'm a lobbyist, she thinks I'm a piano player in a whorehouse)
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To: blu
Let’s just call it what it is: Acceptable risk. Maybe there's too much “there must be someone we can blame! This must be someone’s fault!”

That and too many people who have decided they get to decide what is and what is ot acceptable risk.

28 posted on 01/26/2008 8:54:21 AM PST by Gabz (Don't tell my mom I'm a lobbyist, she thinks I'm a piano player in a whorehouse)
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To: xjcsa

These Legislators will need a helmet after we here in Michigan get a big piss elm club and start putting knots on their heads faster than they can rub them! The State is broke and I guess this is just another revenue gathering move, using the “nanny state” to promote it! Can’t wait until they pass a law requiring bulletproof vests for hunting!


29 posted on 01/26/2008 8:58:01 AM PST by paratrooper82 (82 Airborne 1/508th BN "fury from the sky")
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To: Gabz

In WV they passed a helmet law for ATV riding. Surprise, the number of deaths went up this year.


30 posted on 01/26/2008 9:00:16 AM PST by WV Mountain Mama (My only resolution this year is to make a bigger carbon foot print.)
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To: Gabz

This stuff is getting scary.


31 posted on 01/26/2008 9:02:02 AM PST by patton (cuiquam in sua arte credendum)
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To: WV Mountain Mama

And of course the PTB will make up some lame excuse.

I don’t disagree with the wearing of helmets or seatbelts, I disagree with such wear being mandatory.


32 posted on 01/26/2008 9:02:30 AM PST by Gabz (Don't tell my mom I'm a lobbyist, she thinks I'm a piano player in a whorehouse)
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To: Mr. Brightside

How about a mandatory drug test.


33 posted on 01/26/2008 9:03:07 AM PST by mainerforglobalwarming
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To: patton

Getting scary???????


34 posted on 01/26/2008 9:03:08 AM PST by Gabz (Don't tell my mom I'm a lobbyist, she thinks I'm a piano player in a whorehouse)
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To: Mr. Brightside

We ride, we decide.


35 posted on 01/26/2008 9:03:33 AM PST by 38special (I mean come on.)
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To: Mr. Brightside

all private automobile occupans must be required to wear helmets.

ALL of them.

IF you don’t want to wear a helmet, take the bus.

(nanny state sarcasm off)


36 posted on 01/26/2008 9:04:29 AM PST by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: paratrooper82
Can’t wait until they pass a law requiring bulletproof vests for hunting!

I'd bet the police lobby will put a stop to that idea.

37 posted on 01/26/2008 9:09:10 AM PST by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: Young Scholar
LOL at the idea that Michigan has big enough ski hills that anyone needs a helmet there.

Atlanta has the largest ski club in the country that isn't in a ski area so naturally you have to fly to any ski holiday you go on. In all the years I've been skiing I've never heard Michigan mentioned one time as a place to go. I guess it's so good that the natives keep the secret to themselves, hehe.

38 posted on 01/26/2008 9:15:09 AM PST by Oshkalaboomboom
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To: Oshkalaboomboom

I went to college in Grand Rapids, and the local ski “hill” is in fact artificial—built on an old garbage dump.


39 posted on 01/26/2008 9:26:06 AM PST by Young Scholar
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To: Oshkalaboomboom
 
 
My son just got a job here:
 
 
 
He says it is his dream job. 

40 posted on 01/26/2008 9:31:24 AM PST by Lokibob (Some people are like slinkys. Useless, but if you throw them down the stairs, you smile.)
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To: Oshkalaboomboom

Michigan actually has quite a good skiing tradition with 40 or so ski areas. None of them can compare with mountain resorts of course, but there is plenty of opportunity.

I used to help run a junior high ski club for about 30 years. In fact we went to the same local ski place as the Dearborn ski club mentioned in the story.

That said, I believe that snowboarders ought to wear helmets because they fall very often as falling is in the nature fo that sport. Skiers are less prone to head injuries when falling so helmets aren’t as important. However, it should be voluntary.


41 posted on 01/26/2008 9:31:43 AM PST by cyclotic (Support Scouting-Raising boys to be men, and politically incorrect at the same time.)
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To: xjcsa
I’d like to introduce an amendment to also require helmet use while participating in a session of the Michigan State Legislature.

How about requiring a muzzle, too?

42 posted on 01/26/2008 9:32:56 AM PST by timm22 (Think critically)
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To: Mr. Brightside

So much for skiing in Michigan...and I’ve done it many times.


43 posted on 01/26/2008 9:38:14 AM PST by BobL (http://www.brusselsjournal.com/blog/4556 (here is where the real Europe is going))
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To: IronJack
It is in your best interest to fight this buttinsky-ism with all your might.

It will be their corporate lawyers who recommend the resorts mandate the wearing of helmets. I'm surprised it hasn't already happened.......

44 posted on 01/26/2008 9:58:24 AM PST by Hot Tabasco
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To: The Electrician
The biggest mystery of all:

The second biggest is what the hell does Coleman Young (The politician formerly known as JOEL LOVING) know about skiing?

The illegitimate son of Mayor Coleman Young, JOEL LOVING, decided to become a Jr. a few years ago when he got into politics. He figured by changing his name he would then have "name recognition" which would help his political career amongst the idiot massses of Detroit. Looks like it worked.....

45 posted on 01/26/2008 10:09:42 AM PST by Hot Tabasco
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To: Gabz
Is there any freedom that the nanny staters would not be willing to give up in the name of safety?
46 posted on 01/26/2008 10:46:00 AM PST by kanawa (Don't go where you're looking, look where you're going.)
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To: Gabz
Last year I could get info on was 1997: 26 deaths vs 54,000,000 skier-visits.

Miniscule risk shows it's just another power grab.

47 posted on 01/26/2008 10:55:49 AM PST by metesky ("Brethren, leave us go amongst them." Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton - Ward Bond- The Searchers)
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To: IronJack

I disagree with laws making it mandatory for skiing, as I would for biking. But personally, this is the first yeat I myself am actually considering buying a helmet. So many snowboarders on the mountains and many times they move to their blind backside without even looking. Just too many close calls......


48 posted on 01/26/2008 11:23:39 AM PST by Red in Blue PA (Truth : Liberals :: Kryptonite : Superman)
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To: Kirkwood

Last year when I wa skiing, they guy behind me fell and his snowboard went flying in front of him, exactly where I was. It hit my skiing pole so hard I thought it cracked it, and proceeded to keep on sailing into the woods. If that had been my head.....

I think I am off to the store......


49 posted on 01/26/2008 11:25:55 AM PST by Red in Blue PA (Truth : Liberals :: Kryptonite : Superman)
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To: metesky

But how many head injuries? I bet the number was many-fold over that 26.


50 posted on 01/26/2008 11:27:40 AM PST by Red in Blue PA (Truth : Liberals :: Kryptonite : Superman)
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