On Tuesday, June 7, a fatal accident left the town of Shenandoah, IA, heartbroken. Kinsee Rooker, age 14, was running southbound during a cross country practice when she was struck by an eastbound vehicle.
The Shenandoah school district now faces a reality that no community should ever have to go through as the students, faculty, and all the members of Shenandoah mourn the loss of this young girl.
For a town that has an active cross country team, this story struck close to home for many. Although there are no official school regulations regarding where and what time of day the cross country team can practice, Coach Chris Gebhards goes over safety rules with the team before the season begins. Coach Gebhards keeps his team off all major roads to avoid traffic and expresses the importance of being aware of your surroundings at all time. Just like any sport, accidents and injuries are not completely avoidable; however, precautions can be taken to lessen the chance.
But it is not just our youth athletes that can be susceptible to these dangers. All runners, walkers and bike riders in our community need to follow the same precepts that the cross country team is being given. Always be aware of your surroundings and understand that using headphones decreases your ability to hear approaching vehicles. Bike riders are reminded to ride with the traffic, and walkers and runners are to go against traffic. Drivers in our community should also use extreme caution around those who are exercising outdoors.