PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — On a Sunday morning in December about four years ago, Brown University sophomore Vikram Siberry was in the front passenger seat of a car that hit a patch of black ice, left the roadway, and slammed into a tree. His friend the driver died. Another friend in the back seat was seriously hurt, and Siberry sustained brain bleeding that prevented him from being fully conscious for two days.
“The seatbelt was all that stood between me and death,” he said. His friends were wearing seat belts, too. “Before, I put it on and didn’t really think about it, but now I consciously think about it. The number of lives they have saved. It’s very important to me.”
Automotive safety — and research to make it better — is so important to Siberry that at noon today (Thursday, Dec. 4) he’ll speak at an American Academy of Pediatrics briefing for policymakers and journalists in the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C. The academy included him on a panel of six speakers who will highlight how federally funded research has improved the health of children and teens.
“I want to stress the importance of not being satisfied with car safety technologies,” he said. “You want to keep pressing on it and keep making it even better. Deaths are lower, due to it, but it’s still a number that’s way too high.”
At Brown, Siberry is considering a concentration in psychology largely because of the interest his injury has sparked in physical brain science and recovery as well as emotional trauma and recovery. He’d like to use his education to help others.
“Having been through it, [concentrating in psychology] would be a good option to help people get through similar traumatizing experiences,” he said.