March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and one Lowcountry organization is working to curb the number of traumatic brain injuries suffered by children in bike accidents.

By the numbers

Each year, traumatic brain injuries in South Carolina lead to 1,117 deaths, 2,800 hospital discharges and 11,500 emergency department visits.

Source: Department of Health and Environmental Control

In South Carolina, traumatic brain injuries are the No. 1 cause of death for people ages 1 to 44, according to the Brain Injury Association of South Carolina.

A group of attorneys from a Lowcountry firm is working to lower that number among children. The Howell and Christmas firm started a group about 14 months ago dedicated to donating free helmets to children, Lowcountry Helmets for Kids.

The group will be at the Cooper River Bridge Run this year working to raise awareness about the importance of helmet safety, said Gary Christmas, an injury attorney and one of the organization’s founders. About 40 to 50 people have signed up to run the race in the name of helmet safety, Christmas said.

The group recently has joined with law enforcement agencies around the tri-county and provided police with helmets to give to kids they encounter who aren’t wearing them and to handout at police-sponsored events, he said.

Already, the group has given out a few thousand helmets, Christmas said. “Not every accident can be prevented with a helmet, but a very simple start for bicycling and skateboarding is with helmets,” he said.

All donations made to the organization go to buying helmets, according to Christmas.

“A lot of parents don’t know to even wear them because they didn’t wear them as a kid,” Christmas said. “We want to educate the need and safety of it.”

Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or