ThinkFirst named ALMS official charity

American Le Mans Series names ThinkFirst as Official Charity; will promote youth injury prevention. BRASELTON, Ga. - With the goal of making a positive and lasting impression on today's youth, The American Le Mans Series (ALMS), a professional...

American Le Mans Series names ThinkFirst as Official Charity; will promote youth injury prevention.

BRASELTON, Ga. - With the goal of making a positive and lasting impression on today's youth, The American Le Mans Series (ALMS), a professional sports car racing series based in North America, has named the ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation as its official charity, series officials have announced.

ALMS President and CEO Scott Atherton (left) presents a $100,000 donation from the series to Dr. Mike Turner, President of ThinkFirst.

The mission of ThinkFirst is to prevent brain, spinal cord and other traumatic injuries through the education of individuals, community leaders and the creators of public policy.

The American Le Mans Series plans to work nationally with ThinkFirst, as well as with local ThinkFirst chapters in each race market, producing safety events and working to distribute bicycle helmets to children. Selected American Le Mans Series drivers will participate in local safety events as well as in national campaigns, and the series will work with ThinkFirst on fund-raising initiatives. In addition, the series will donate time in the television and radio broadcasts of its events for ThinkFirst public service announcements and will challenge its promotional partners to become involved as well.

Atherton and Turner are surrounded by Atlanta children with the new bicycle helmets they received from ThinkFirst and the Shepherd Center of Atlanta.

"We feel that the marriage of the American Le Mans Series and ThinkFirst is a perfect fit," said Scott Atherton, President and CEO of the ALMS. "Our drivers and racing teams are extremely safety-conscious in their racing endeavors and will be very effective in helping to deliver the message of safety to the youth of North America. We not only want to help ThinkFirst raise funds, but we also want to be on the leading edge of safety and efforts in injury prevention."

"The association of ThinkFirst and the American Le Mans Series offers many opportunities for ThinkFirst and American Le Mans to work together for injury prevention in children," said Dr. Mike Turner, President of ThinkFirst. "I feel strongly that we have formed a long-term relationship that will effectively promote injury prevention and save many children."

Each year, an estimated 500,000 persons sustain brain and spinal cord injuries in the United States. The most frequent causes of these injuries are motor vehicle crashes, falls, sports and recreation, especially diving, and violence. Children and teens are at high risk for these devastating injuries, many of which are preventable.

ThinkFirst, the National Injury Prevention Programs (formerly known as The National Head and Spinal Cord Injury Prevention Program) award-winning public education efforts targets this high-risk age group. These upbeat programs educate young people about personal vulnerability and risk taking. The message is that you can have a fun-filled, exciting life, without hurting yourself if you "ThinkFirst" and use your mind to protect your body.

ThinkFirst programs are underway in communities throughout the United States, Canada, Chile, Australia, Singapore, Jamaica, Lebanon and Mexico.

About ThinkFirst

Originally called the National Head and Spinal Cord Injury Prevention Program when created in 1986 by The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS), the name, ThinkFirst, was adopted as the program's new identity in May 1990. At the same time, a separate charitable foundation was formed to involve lay leadership in overseeing program expansion, organization and funding.

The catalysts for the establishment of the original national effort were neurosurgeons E. Fletcher Eyster, MD, of Pensacola, Florida and Clark Watts, MD, of Columbia, Missouri. These two doctors had been involved in injury prevention programming in their communities for many years. Their early efforts were born out of frustration at not being able to cure or "fix" spinal cord injured patients.

Though founded in neurosurgery, ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation recognizes, by virtue of its work in treating patients who have sustained traumatic injuries, physicians and allied health professionals are natural spokespersons for prevention. Recently, the Foundation has expanded its efforts to encourage orthopedic, trauma, pediatric, and emergency medicine physicians to get involved, as well as nurses, physical/occupational therapists, orthotists, physician assistants, educators and others. ThinkFirst provides these professionals with the impetus and some of the tools to assist in spreading the prevention message in their communities. Additional information is available online at www.thinkfirst.org.

About the American Le Mans Series

The American Le Mans Series is a series of North American sports car races based on the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world's most famous endurance race. American Le Mans Series races feature four classes of race cars competing for class wins and the overall win, with the fields including many of the same drivers and cars that compete at Le Mans. The series holds events at many of North America's premier permanent road racing facilities as well as at temporary circuits in key major markets. The series motto is "For the Fans" and all events feature driver autograph sessions and open paddocks. All events are on television in the United States. Well-known automotive brand names such as Audi, Bentley, Corvette, Dodge, Ferrari, Lamborghini, MG, Nissan, Panoz, Porsche and Saleen are represented on the series. The series, which has its headquarters in Braselton, Ga., was founded in 1999 by entrepreneur Don Panoz and is sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). The series website is www.americanlemans.com.

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Series ALMS , Charity