Crash survivor urges Saltillo teens to drive safely

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

SALTILLO – An anesthesiologist from Florida spoke to Saltillo High School students on Monday about something few guest speakers can say.
Adam Blomberg told an assembly of about 500 freshmen and sophomores at the school about how he survived severe brain injuries suffered in a car crash.
“People with a brain injury like mine don’t stand up and talk to you,” said Blomberg, who spoke to the students about safe driving habits. “People with a brain injury like mine end up in rehabilitation. That is why I am here, to beg you and implore you to understand what can happen.”
Blomberg was a passenger in the 1995 crash, which occurred during his senior year of high school. As the van he rode in pulled out of a gas station, he began to buckle his seat belt but got distracted. The vehicle was struck by oncoming traffic before he had the chance to do so, and he was ejected onto his head. Doctors did not believe he would live, but he responded well to treatment and was eventually able to attend college and medical school.
He noticed that people seemed to respond well to his story, and he began to tell it. He now speaks about safe driving for Anheuser-Busch, and he’s visited more than 150 high schools and colleges and spoken to more than 50,000 students since 1998. Monday was his first trip to Mississippi.
“I found when friends heard my story, they were more likely to drive slower, wear seat belts and be responsible in their cars,” he said. “I thought, if it can do that for them, it can do that for others.”
Blomberg was brought to the school by Mitchell Distributing and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
“What stood out to me was that the message was so straight-forward,” Sheriff Jim Johnson said. “There were no holds barred. That is just what they needed to hear.”
The presentation featured stories of teenagers killed in traffic crashes after making a variety of mistakes: not wearing seat belts, texting while driving, road rage and driving drunk. It was filled with photos of crash victims.
Freshmen Alyssa Tutor and Stephen Harris said it was seeing those photos that made an impact on them.
“I think it will reach a lot of people,” said Stephen, 15. “I thought about it, and I will remind myself to put on a seat belt every time.”
chris.kieffer@journalinc.com