A Publication of WTVP

“Promoting Community Safety and Health Education since 1950”

Treating accident victims has been the focus of the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (IPMR) since they opened their doors in the 1940s. In 1950, IPMR incorporated as a private, non-sectarian, not-for-profit organization. This focus has led the organization to programs on how to prevent these debilitating injuries. Safety at home, at school and at work has been the basis of many IPMR activities, including the ongoing Driver Evaluation Program, as well as work-site specific Injury Prevention Training at the Return to Work Center.

IPMR’s Community Involvement
IPMR’s community participation has continued, most recently with its involvement in a Bradley University Senior Public Relations Project. The capstone class, which is taught by Dr. Ron Koperski, focuses on developing and implementing a PR campaign tying a local not-for profit and for-profit business around a particular issue. The class acts as the final step in the educational experience at Bradley, allowing students to incorporate all they have learned while implementing a “real-world campaign with real results.”

BICYCLE HELMETS are 85 to 88 percent effective in mitigating head and brain injuries, making the use of helmets the single most effective way to reduce head injuries and fatalities resulting from bicycle crashes.

DESPITE the fact that nearly 70 percent of all fatal bicycle crashes involve head injuries, only about 20 to 25 percent of all bicyclists wear bicycle helmets.

FORTY-FIVE PERCENT of fatally injured motorcyclists did not wear helmets.

UNIVERSAL BICYCLE HELMET USE by children ages 4 to 15 would prevent 39,000 to 45,000 head injuries, and 18,000 to 55,000 scalp and face injuries annually.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2006

The group of Andrew Kistner, Charlie Walker, Eric Beals and Matt Knobloch established a campaign to promote “helmet safety awareness in the local community.” Along with IPMR, the students teamed up with Grayboy Motorsports of Peoria Heights. The partnership developed by the students and businesses is sending a message to the local community: Being properly educated on the use of helmets can prevent life-altering injuries, even if there are no laws in Illinois requiring helmets while riding a bicycle, ATV (all-terrain vehicle) or motorcycle. This education starts with the understanding that a helmet is a necessity at the original purchase of the bicycle, ATV or motorcycle. Using a helmet to prevent an injury is just as important as understanding that if a tragic accident does occur, there are local agencies to assist in your recovery process.

IPMR is an important part of the campaign as a not-for-profit and rehabilitation facility for those injured in accidents involving bicycles, ATVs and motorcycles. The campaign is working to promote the use of helmets rather than mandate them, informing all riders that there are consequences of not wearing a helmet, and people should be able to make an educated decision when riding.

What Does IPMR Offer?
In the late 1940s, IPMR worked to improve the function and quality of life for polio victims, veterans and geriatric patients. Once the Salk vaccine successfully ended polio, the organization turned its focus to the treatment of injury and acute or chronic illness. Today, IPMR is a multi-functional rehabilitation facility offering a multitude of services, with 122 clinical therapists at 18 locations throughout the Tri-County Area offering 63 separate therapies treating acute and chronic pain, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, movement disorders and carpal tunnel syndrome, among others. Treating children and young adults for brain injuries is particularly difficult, so working to prevent the injuries in the first place is why IPMR participates in programs like the student-led helmet safety campaign.

Into the Future
Since the polio epidemic faded from memory, many people don’t realize IPMR is still a not-for-profit. Senior World, which offers adult day programs, and community education efforts—like those collaborating on helmet safety—are examples of how the organization continues to fulfill its nonprofit mission, distinguishing it from for-profit therapy vendors. iBi