Schoolies reminded that high risk activities can have life-long consequences

Over 4,000 Year 12 leavers heading to Schoolies will receive injury prevention training under a new initiative between Allianz Insurance and the Spinal Education Awareness Team (SEAT).

SEAT’s free programs for students in South-East Queensland alert students to activities that have a high risk of causing spinal cord and other traumatic injuries.

The programs stress that taking simple steps such as checking the depth of a body of water before jumping in and not bowing to peer pressure can help young people avoid life-long disability.

There is no cure for a spinal cord injury and the most common age to sustain an injury is between 15 and 30 years.

CEO of Allianz Global Assistance John Myler said the insurer backed the program after noticing an increase in claims from Schoolies revelers overseas.

“In the last three years alone, Allianz Global Assistance has received over 30 claims from teens celebrating Schoolies overseas,” he said.

“These have included anything from a 17-year-old boy falling from a balcony when the bannister gave way in Bali to a 17-year-old girl being evacuated in Fiji when a cyclone hit.”

Bruce Milligan, CEO of Spinal Injuries Australia, said Schoolies can have a good time, but they should be aware of the possible consequences of their actions.

“Schoolies is one of those occasions that conjure up mixed emotions – jubilation for teens and anxiety and concern for parents,” he said.

“We know kids aren’t going to stop celebrating altogether and we wouldn’t want them to, however it’s important that they are aware of the dangers.”

If you’re celebrating the end of high school over the next few weeks, Smartraveller provides this advice:

- Research your destination and read the travel advice

- Get travel insurance

- Register your travel plans with Smartraveller

- Check you have at least 6 months left on your passport

- See a doctor before you go (for vaccinations, as well as to get a prescription for any medication you will need to continue taking while travelling)

- Keep in touch with family and friends back home throughout your trip

- Look after your mates

- Don’t break the law

- Don’t consume or carry drugs overseas

- Watch your drinks

- Avoid physical fights

- Be wary of venue safety (and if things get crowded, get out)

- Take care around water (and don’t swim if you’ve been drinking)

- Ask for help if you need it (remember, if something bad happens, the best thing to do is alert authorities)