AS THE 2013 school year fast approaches, an enthusiastic bunch of injury prevention volunteers are ready to inspire Bundaberg children to stay safe and injury free.
The Spinal Education Awareness Team (SEAT) program is ready for its 26th year of motivating school kids to consider their personal safety in order to avoid a permanent injury.
SEAT veteran presenter Wayne Leo said SEAT had 20 volunteer presenters throughout Queensland.
"Every presenter has a spinal cord injury and uses a wheelchair," he said.
"By sharing our personal experiences with students from Prep to Year 12, we aim to inspire these students to think about the consequences of their potentially risky behaviour.
"Unfortunately, young people aged 35 and under are the most common group to sustain spinal cord injuries."
Spinal Injuries Association chief executive officer Bruce Milligan said since 1987, SEAT had been seen by more than 1.5 million Queensland school children.
"Road trauma, falls and crushes, and water-related accidents are the major cause of spinal cord injuries in Queensland," he said.
"And because there is no cure for spinal cord injuries, prevention is paramount.
"Many of these injuries could have been prevented by simple precautions such as always wearing a seatbelt, walking into water to check its depth instead of diving straight in, never drinking or driving or texting and driving, and for the younger kids, even seemingly simple things such as rocking on their chairs should be avoided.
"The power of SEAT is our presenters. By communicating their story and explaining how challenging life is with a permanent disability, they are presenting a compelling injury prevention message that engages and encourages children to look after themselves and their friends."
Each year around 90 Queenslanders sustain spinal cord injuries - an average of one person every four days.
"SEAT reaches an average of 100,000 Queensland school children a year with its vital safety messages," Bruce said.
SEAT is offered free to all Queensland public and private schools.
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