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After Accident, Teen Has Message For Others: 'Wear A Helmet'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- One year after a longboarding accident almost killed a Twin Cities teen, he's sharing his story with the hope that speaking out will save lives.

Willi Bosch, of Little Canada, wasn't wearing a helmet when he fell and hit his head last July.

"I was on a path, a level path, not doing any tricks and I just wiped out," he said.

During the fall, Bosch cracked his skull causing his brain to bleed in three places. Surgeons performed an emergency craniotomy at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare.

Bosch survived the surgery but his fate was uncertain.

"Most kids with his type of injury are going to have significant long term problems," said Dr. Mark Gormley of Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare.

The injury took Bosch's ability to walk and some of his speech.

It took eight months to bring those basic skills back.

"I'm feeling a lot better. Yeah, almost to a full recovery," Bosch said. "I don't remember a lot. It was a blur to me but I do remember not being able to walk. It was frustrating."

Even more frustrating was how easily his injury could have been avoided.

"I think if Willi would have had a helmet we wouldn't have seen him," Gormley said.

Bosch's mom, Mary Barness, was a stickler for helmet use but it was always met with resistance.

"I gave up on the fight," she said. "You know, pick your battles and I stopped fighting that one."

Barness is now taking up the fight to protect other kids with her "No Helmet, No Ride" campaign.

She'll share Bosch's story with classrooms including pictures of his injuries and recovery.

"It is scary and graphic, but I think it might drive the point that this is for real," Barness said.

Bosch's fall nearly killed him but now it has the potential to save lives.

"This is a phenomenal ending, and it's the exception," Barness said.

Bosch was a hockey and lacrosse player but will never be able to play contact sports again, even with a helmet.

The risk of re-injury is too high.

To learn more about the "No Helmet, No Ride" campaign, click here.

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