Baas visits elementary school

Baas Urges Students to 'Think First' About Safety INDIANAPOLIS, May 1 - Approximately 400 students at McClelland Elementary School learned the importance of wearing bicycle helmets and seat belts when race car driver Ian Baas visited the school...

Baas Urges Students to 'Think First' About Safety

INDIANAPOLIS, May 1 - Approximately 400 students at McClelland Elementary School learned the importance of wearing bicycle helmets and seat belts when race car driver Ian Baas visited the school Monday as part of a program presented by the Think First National Injury Prevention Foundation.

Ian Baas and a student at the school appearance for Think First.
Photo by Linda Mansfield.

Baas, of Noblesville, Ind., drives a Porsche in the Grand-Am Rolex Series' GT division and an Audi in the SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship. He won the 2006 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

Think First uses spokespeople like Baas to convey the importance of "thinking first" about safety in order to prevent head and spinal cord injuries. Nena Ray, who represents Think First, Clarian Health and the Indianapolis Neurosurgical Group, invited Baas to participate in the program. Julie Kingery, the school's physical education teacher, organized the visit.

Kindergarten through third-grade students participated.

Baas, 24, told the students how important helmets and seat belts are in his profession. He showed them his Arai helmet, Sparco driving uniform and HANS device, and talked about the five different seat belts he uses when racing.

He demonstrated the importance of wearing bicycle helmets by dropping two watermelons portraying brains. The first watermelon was inserted into a bicycle helmet and then dropped, suffering only a crack. The second watermelon, which was dropped without any protection, splattered everywhere.

A video, several other demonstrations and a question-and-answer period were also part of the program, which was very well received. At the end Baas allowed each child to touch a simulated brain to illustrate how soft and vulnerable a brain is to injury. Coloring sheets and autograph cards were also distributed.

Baas donated his time for the appearance, one of several he plans to do this year for the not-for-profit foundation.

For more information on Baas, see ianbaasracing.com. For more information on Think First, see thinkfirst.org.

-credit: restart communications

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Series Grand-Am , PWC
Drivers Ian Baas