James Milne’s (left) decision to skateboard without a helmet almost cost the Langley teenager his life. Now his mother Audrey( right) is trying to spread the message that ‘helmets are cool — brain injuries, not so much.’

James Milne’s (left) decision to skateboard without a helmet almost cost the Langley teenager his life. Now his mother Audrey( right) is trying to spread the message that ‘helmets are cool — brain injuries, not so much.’

‘Dear teenagers, wear your helmet,’ love, a Langley mom

Following her son's near-tragic head injury, a Langley mother is on a campaign to show teens,'helmets are cool, brain injuries not so much'

A Langley mom is sharing her teenage son’s near-tragic story in an effort to spread the message that “Helmets are cool, brain injuries — not so much.”

Audrey Milne finds herself cringing every time she sees a child or teen riding a bike, board or scooter without a helmet, because she knows that in an instant that child’s life can change or, worse, end.

Langley Secondary Grade 11 student James Milne’s story began this past spring, on a sunny Friday afternoon.

The Milne family had their usual routine of work, school and play — going about their busy lives.

On that Friday afternoon, mom Audrey watched as her strong, handsome son —  “full of joy and youthful enthusiasm” — headed down the road on his skateboard.

“My heart was happy for him, yet something inside said, ‘Take a good look, enjoy this beautiful sight. Something is going to change.’

“I let him go and went back to my plans of that day.

“How can we as parents protect our children from everything?  How do you make sense of all of this?” she asked.

“There are moments that mark your life, moments when you realize nothing will be the same and time is divided into two parts — before this and after this.”

That afternoon, James was in a skateboard accident and suffered a severe concussion.

They spent the night in emergency at Langley Memorial Hospital before he was released. But, at home on Saturday, James’ situation went from bad to worse.

“We knew he had a concussion, [but] he was up, had breakfast, a shower and was resting, as instructed.

“Then he started throwing up, feeling pressure behind his eye and really not feeling well, losing consciousness,” said Milne.

“We rushed him back to the hospital and pushed [doctors] for a CT scan.”

The scan revealed her 17-year-old son had an epidermal brain hematoma. He soon fell into a coma.

“We almost lost him,” she said.

James was rushed to Royal Columbian Hospital on life support. There, he had a 15-minute brain surgery that saved his life.

“We got him there just in time, said Milne. By Sunday he was responding and recovering in the critical care unit.

But the family has a long road ahead.

While James recovered,  most with this type of concussion are not so lucky.

“I had a very good Mother’s Day gift — our son’s smile — the best gift of all.”

All of this may have been avoided if James had worn his helmet, which they had told him to put on.

“We all believe we are invincible,” Milne said.

“No one should experience what our family went through. James came back to us and for that we are grateful and forever thankful to everyone who played a part in saving his life,” she said.

One month later, James is recovering from a severe concussion, fractured skull and brain trauma and is part of the Brain and Injury Recovery program with Children’s Hospital.

He has not been able to return to school, however, he did attend LSS’s awards night on June 17 and is getting back into school work to prepare for his Grade 12 year.

“It’s amazing to see how high functioning he is after the trauma his body experienced.”

He has had a recent visit to his neurologist and a full recovery is expected in time, with hard work and patience to heal.

James will be back with his strength, determination and positive inspiration, said the Milne family.

“As we are in to the last month of school with students waiting to get outside and enjoy the summer weather, we notice how people are riding bikes, skateboarding, penny boarding, on scooters without helmets and protection.

“I cringe inside and realize this is a culture of invincibility and ‘it won’t happen to me’ type of attitude.”

The Milne family urges people to take the time to make sure their kids are wearing helmets.

“Take time to snap on that helmet, make it a cool thing, protect your head.

“Be an example to your friends. Helmets are cool, brain injuries — not so much.”

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