Teen injured in ATV accident urges others to wear helmets

Save Story
Leer en espaƱol

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY -- This weekend you'll notice a pack of motorcyclists on the road. They'll be driving all through the state, and they will all be wearing helmets.

The ride is a fundraiser for a teenager who crashed on an ATV and was not wearing a helmet. One year later, Morgan Olson is encouraging others not to make the same mistake she did.

At the time of injury, only 29% of seriously injured Utahns under the age of 18 were wearing a helmet. -Utah Dept. of Health

Morgan is now in rehab, learning to walk again. In fact, she's pretty much had to learn to do everything--talking, eating, even blinking--since the crash.

"They told me she had actually died at the scene," said Morgan's mother, Kim Laird.

Last September, Kim got a call Morgan had wrecked while riding on the back of an ATV with a friend. She was not wearing a helmet and ended up being in a coma for nearly a month.

During summer months (May-August), more children and young adults were hospitalized for ATV injures (339) than were hospitalized for all forms of intentional injury (assault, gunshot, stabbing, etc. [224]). -Utah Dept. of Health

"It injured the motor skills in the right side of her brain--that operates the the opposite side of her body," Kim explained.

If you look at the numbers KSL 5 News found from the Utah Health Department, it's teenagers like Morgan who are most likely to be injured on ATVs.

"We think we're invincible when we're young, and we're not," said Christine Lutz, a nurse practitioner who has been working with Morgan since she went to HealthSouth.

Lutz says at HealthSouth they work with a lot of patients who wouldn't need rehab if they had worn a helmet.

"Chronic disabilities are in their future, and they will struggle the rest of their life," Lutz said.

"I really do believe if she had a helmet on she would not be in the condition she's in," Kim said.

![](http://media.bonnint.net/slc/1348/134850/13485028.jpg)**Number of serious ATV-related injuries (2001 through 2005) by day of the week.**-*Utah Department of Health*
Now Morgan will always have to wear a helmet during any activity. The family hopes for a full recovery; Morgan says she just wants to be a normal teenager again. "I want to be ... to get up, to go to my car and go to the mall and go shopping," Morgan said.

"Wear your helmets," she then cautioned. "I've suffered enough. I wouldn't want anyone to suffer as much as I have."

Utah's helmet law states that anyone under 18 must wear one; Morgan was 18 when the accident happened.

E-mail: abutterfield@ksl.com

Related links

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics

Amanda Butterfield


    Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the KSL.com Trending 5.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast