Two Local Helmetless Teen Skaters Suffer Life-Threatening Brain Injuries

Tara Csatlos is 16 years old, but her vision is equivalent to a 40-year-old's. In the past year, she has almost died several times, traveled back and forth to Illinois to see medical specialists and dropped out of spring semester at Cypress Woods High School. All of this due to a freak skateboarding accident.

On June 12, 2010, Csatlos and her friend were skateboarding on a hilly thoroughfare at a golf course when the front wheels of Tara's board hit a patch of sand. She landed head first in the pavement, fracturing her skull, which wasn't protected by a helmet, in two places. Life Flight transported her to Memorial Hermann, where she nearly died from a traumatic brain injury.

Around the same time as Tara's ordeal, Joseph Stanton, an accomplished athlete at Kingwood Park High School, suffered a massive traumatic brain injury following a skateboarding mishap. Like Csatlos, he wasn't wearing a helmet. When the teen awakened from a two-and-a-half month coma, he was (and still is) unable to talk and walk.

Csatlos is currently doing much better, partially due to treatment that she received at NeuroRestorative in Carbondale, Illinois. However, according to her mother Brenda Csatlos, her daughter is still fighting serious depression.

"She looks like you and me," says Brenda Csatlos. "She doesn't appear to have a brain injury, but she's still struggling. It's been the worst year of all of our lives."

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at H-E-B, 24224 Northwest Freeway in Cypress, the Csatloses are hosting a benefit cookout and helmet raffle. A circa 1995 City of Houston ordinance requires any bicyclist 18 years old and younger to wear a helmet, but, to date, similar legislation doesn't exist for skateboarders.

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