Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor

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We had the opportunity to sit down with Kemp O'Neill, a victim of a recent snowmobile accident.

He tells KULR 8 chief photographer Levi Adams his story and how a carbon fiber helmet saved his life.

"My Dad brought the first snowmobile home in '67 and I was seven years old. We've had snowmobiles ever since. I got a few miles under my belt. My passion for life is snowmobiling. I was coming up on a corner and missed the corner and went off the... I actually thought I was going off into a ditch and there was no ditch. There was a cliff on the other side. Nothing but a boulder patch all the way down," said O'Neill.

"His helmet was cracked in three different places and in three different pieces. That could have very well been, without the helmet, he wouldn't have probably survived that accident. That would have been his head and his skull in three different places," said Heathr English.

"It took me quite a while for me to remember how everything went down. I guess I tried to make sense out of the wreck," said O'Neill.

"We've had several head injuries that are missing half of their skulls because they didn't have their helmet on and will not function or have their quality of life back like Kemp likely will," said English.

"Safety's one of my big deals and I wear the best helmets you can find, and I broke a carbon fiber helmet. I have not seen it, but it's in three pieces, I understand," said O'Neill.

"Helmet safety is, by far, the number one safety, for motorcycles, ATV's, your snowmobiles, bicycles; if you don't have your helmet on, all bets are off," said English.

"I know, the first time somebody got me up and walking, I mean, three of four steps was amazing and yesterday, we walked the length of that hall, 400 feet twice without a walker and it was pretty cool," said O'Neill.

"In comparison with our other TBI's (Traumatic Brain Injury) that have not worn their helmets, Kemp did have his on and is lucky to be alive and the difference is, between him wearing his helmet as opposed to our other Traumatic Brain Injury's that hadn't, is he's able to walk out of here, on his own two feet, with his wits about him," said English.

Along with a traumatic brain injury, O'Neill suffered several broken ribs, a fractured vertebra in his neck, and multiple internal injuries.

He is living proof that helmets do save lives.