Skiway Safety and a Daughter of Dartmouth

by Brent Porter | 11/23/04 6:00am

To the Editor:

Many of us are reacting to your Nov. 18 edition, particularly the update on the Dartmouth College policy concerning helmets (The Dartmouth, "Skiway to mandate use of helmets for P.E. class"). As the father of Christina Porter '06, I hope that Dartmouth students, faculty and staff can work with the Dartmouth administration as well as with other Ivy Leagues to support the mandatory wearing of ski helmets. If each person could see how Christina Porter has suffered from her Feb. 3 catastrophic ski accident when she was not wearing a helmet, her present condition would be convincing. Take your left hand and hold it on your left skull, then imagine that area entirely missing. That is Christina's reality today.

The synthetic left skull piece -- which was implanted by means of "cranialplasty" surgery seven months ago -- had to be recently removed due to infection. A cyst the size of a golf ball was also discovered. While she awaits the replacement cranialplasty, her existing left brain is collapsed, hopefully without further harm to an already badly injured brain. She has returned to innovative treatment at JFK-Johnson Hartwyck Rehabilitation Center in Edison, N.J., with, ironically, a helmet worn for protection during therapy, recreation and travel.

Christina recognizes her Dartmouth friends and appreciates their communication as letters and e-mails are read to her.