JACKSON, Miss.—After visiting 60 Mississippi schools and appearing before more than 16,000 students, Think First, Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s statewide safety and injury prevention program is focusing on summer safety and setting its sights on day camps throughout the state.

The Jackson hospital kicked off its summer campaign at the Reservoir YMCA in Brandon. But along with teaching day campers about bicycle, swimming, diving and other summer safety topics, they also honored a valued member of the Think First team.


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HATTIESBURG, Miss.—Jackson’s own quad rugby team is on the move around Mississippi showcasing the exciting sport and recruiting new athletes. Players recently held a practice session at the Hattiesburg Recreation Center.

The Jackson Jags, consisting of athletes from all over Mississippi and Louisiana, are sponsored by Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson.

Besides recruiting new players, the Jags also hope to show the public that people with disabilities can lead active, healthy lifestyles and play in a variety of sports—including a high-impact sport like rugby.


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SARDIS, Miss.—For the sixth year, physically challenged athletes will represent Methodist Rehabilitation Center in a relay team at the Dragonfly Triathlon.

Following up a successful showing at the Heatwave Triathlon last weekend in Ridgeland, the duo of Randy Lavender and Josh Sharpe will be racing back-to-back weekends.

Lavender, of Tupelo, who injured his spinal cord in a motorcycle accident 17 years ago, will face a daunting task when he leaves Cypress Point beach and begins the opening segment half mile swim with only his arms to pull him through.


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HATTIESBURG, Miss.—Due to the success of Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s safety tag campaign last Christmas, the Jackson hospital has begun offering the tags to bike shops and other retailers is south Mississippi year-round.

The tags encourage parents to remember to buy safety helmets and knee and elbow pads when they purchase bicycles, scooters, roller blades and skateboards for their children.


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RIDGELAND, Miss.—For the second year in a row, disabled athletes represented Methodist Rehabilitation Center in the Heatwave Triathlon.

Josh Sharpe, of Jackson, and Randy Lavender, of Tupelo, both competed today at the Ross Barnet Reservoir in Ridgeland.

Sharpe, a paraplegic who lost the use of his legs in a car accident, covered the 24.5-mile bike course on a hand cycle. Sharpe said he fell in love with hand cycling after reading a magazine article about the sport.


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JACKSON—Physicians at Methodist Rehabilitation Center are encouraging swimmers and divers to think first about safety, especially during the summer months.

“Each year, about 1,000 diving-related injuries occur”, said Dr. Rahul Vohra, medical director at Methodist Rehab. “This accounts for 10 percent of all spinal cord injuries and 60 percent of all recreational injuries.”

Dr. Vohra recommends always checking the water for a minimum depth of ten feet before diving or jumping in and to be aware of “no diving” or “no swimming” signs.


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HATTIESBURG, Miss.—Sammy Safety, Methodist Rehabilitation Center’s certified safety superhero, encouraged children in south Mississippi to always think first about safety and injury prevention when he visited Hattiesburg on June 3-4.

Sammy is part of Think First, the Jackson hospital’s statewide injury prevention program aimed at young children and teenagers that tries to prevent spinal cord, brain and other traumatic injuries by focusing on bicycle, automobile, firearm, boat, swimming and diving safety.


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JACKSON, Miss.—Award-winning artwork from this year’s Goodwill Art Show will be on display in Mississippi museums.

The top three winners in the adult and student divisions will have their artwork shown in a special exhibit at the Walter Anderson Museum of Art in Ocean Springs and other museums across the state have expressed an interest in displaying their work.


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FLOWOOD, Miss.—For Reggie Methvin, hearing a doctor suggest that he should consider an amputation of his right leg below the knee was a good thing.

After his heel was severely fractured in a fall off a ladder in December 1999, the Brandon resident hobbled around on crutches for nearly two years with a chronic draining infection before he found a physician who realized that an amputation and prosthetic leg would probably bring an end to the pain and give him back the one thing he coveted more than anything else—the ability to walk without aid.


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RANKIN COUNTY, Miss.—Methodist Rehabilitation Center and the Reservoir Patrol at the Ross Barnett Reservoir are teaming up to remind Mississippi boaters to always think first about safety this summer, especially during the long Memorial Day weekend.

“The most common accidents we see involve the reckless operation of boats or people who’ve drowned because they weren’t wearing life vests,” said Reservoir Patrol Chief James Stepp. “Often boats get too close to other boats, travel too fast, jump wakes and circle other boats too closely.”


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