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Mayo Clinic doctors highlight Trauma Awareness Month

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Trauma related accidents are the leading cause of death in the United States for anyone up to 45 years old.

Trauma can happen to anyone, so Mayo Clinic is addressing what can be done to prevent tragedy.

May is trauma awareness month and Mayo Clinic trauma experts spoke through Zoom Monday about ways to try and prevent trauma at any age.

The theme of this year's trauma awareness month is: Safety is a Choice. Prevention is key.

"It's a silent thing, trauma," said Dr. Brian Kim, Mayo Clinic Level I Trauma Center Medical Director. "We don't suspect that it's ever going to happen to us, until it does. And the should've, could've, would've. That's the really difficult part, having regret for not having done something or prepared in a certain way."

Doctors also say the vast majority of childhood trauma comes from blunt injuries. They're most common in car crashes. They can also occur on playgrounds or in accidents from riding bicycles or ATVs.

"The use of helmets and protective gear for those activities is critical," said Dr. Denise Klinkner, Mayo Clinic Pediatric Level I Trauma Center Chair. "Parents can certainly provide supervision and awareness of their environment."

The leading cause of trauma in adults is from a fall.

"We don't want people to fall," Kim said. "We don't want people to get in car accidents. We truly do want to put ourselves out of business, just like oncologists want to put themselves out of business. But, prevention is clearly the key element here."

In the case of doctors Katie and Kyle McKenzie, that trauma is personal.

A car crash in November of 2019 left their three year old daughter with a traumatic brain injury. But a well fitting car seat absorbed most of the damage.

"She spent 46 days in the hospital and doing inpatient rehab," said Katie McKenzie, Olmsted Medical Center Primary Care Physician. "She didn't have any broken bones, I don't think she had a cut or bruise on her. I mean that car seat kept her very protected."

The McKenzies say their daughter is doing well but had to learn how to talk, eat, crawl and walk all over again.

"I mean, I think prevention is key and making safety just part of your routine," said McKenzie.

Doctors say being aware of your surroundings and taking the proper precautions to be safe is key for a better outcome should a trauma injury occur.

Sarah Gannon

Sarah Gannon

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