University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Vermont Medicine Magazine

“Live PHAT” Helmet Program Expands to Include More Sports

LIVE PHAT Vermont license plate image

The PHAT (Protect Your Head at All Times) ski helmet program, founded by Robert Williams, M.D., in 2002 and supported by Fletcher Allen Health Care in partnership with the UVM College of Medicine and the Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen, has formed a statewide coalition with other sports advocacy groups. To reflect the organization’s expanded scope and year-round focus on brain injury prevention, the organization has changed its name to “Live PHAT.”

Among the new partners in “Live PHAT” are Local Motion, a Burlington, Vt.-based non-profit devoted to creating healthier Vermont communities by making them better places to bike, walk, run and ski; Vermont All-Terrain Vehicles Sportsman’s Association (VASA), a statewide organization of local ATV clubs that works in partnership with the state to develop and manage trails; and the Vermont Longboard Crew, a Burlington, Vt.-based group working to inform the general public and skateboarders about safe and sustainable riding practices through demonstrations, seminars and multimedia projects.

Live PHAT members will adopt the non-coercive approach that PHAT has used since 2002 to raise helmet use among Vermont skiers and boarders to well above the national average. Key steps include ensuring all public images depict athletes wearing helmets, distributing posters and stickers that appeal to young participants, using informational booths and drawings to attract attention to the issue, and encouraging relevant businesses (like ski resorts) to see employees as role models.

“I’m very excited that the new partnership will reach Vermonters from a diverse range of sports with our message of responsible helmet use,” said Williams, a pediatric anesthesiologist at Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen and associate professor at the UVM College of Medicine. “I know this growing effort will prevent many people from experiencing the tragedy of brain injury.”

“Local Motion is thrilled to be a partner with Live PHAT in spreading the message that helmets are an essential piece of the safety equation in biking and all sports where head injury is a risk,” said Jason Van Driesche, director of advocacy and education and co-interim executive director.

“Helmets are an insurance policy that, when combined with solid bike skills, courteous and attentive motorists, and well-designed roads and paths, keeps bike riders happy and healthy ride after ride,” he added.

“VASA is happy to join forces with Live PHAT and its partners to strengthen our message that ALL ATVers wear a DOT approved helmet that fits appropriately,” said Dani Cady, operations director at VASA. “It can be the difference between a safe, fun ride and your last ride.  VASA believes in putting safety first - know your machine, know your skills, and use the proper equipment, starting with a high quality helmet.”

“Helmet use is super important when skating at any skill level, but there's so much to learn and master,” said Will Deming, founder of the Vermont Longboard Crew.  “Live PHAT will be a great resource for us as we become a one-stop shop for everything skateboard related.”

For more information on Live PHAT as well as event listings, safety tips, downloads, videos, medical literature and more please visit PHAT has no ties to helmet manufacturers or retailers.