The cool night air was in his face as Ian Tilmann made his last run down the hill on Hercules Avenue in Clearwater, FL. Police later said Ian was going about 20 mph.
The 28-year-old U.S. Marine Corp veteran and two friends had been skateboarding down the street for several hours. But this would be Ian's last run.
At the foot of the hill the front wheels on his longboard locked up. He was hurled into the night, tumbling headfirst to the hard pavement. Like many other veteran boarders, he wore no helmet.
The impact cracked open his skull from ear to ear. Doctors later said there was evidence of at least four areas of injury to his brain. In the hospital, Ian had to be restrained as he became violent and tried to pull out the intravenous needles and stand up. The doctors said this was evidence of deep brain injuries.
Doctors induced a coma to keep him calm and he was placed on life-supporting machines. But Ian's brain was swelling inside of his skull – pressing against the bone. In the following days, doctors fought the swelling; brain surgery was done to try to help relieve the pressure.
Ten days later, May 26, 2005, Ian Tilmann died. If Ian had been wearing a helmet, he would still be alive.
In the days following Ian's accident, the family remained in a state of shock & disbelief...but he was only skateboarding!
In memory of Ian, the family has made a commitment to promote helmet use to skateboarders. The family decided on buying helmets and giving them to skateboarders for free if they pledged first to wear the helmet whenever they rode their boards. The program was first launched in Safety Harbor’s skateboard park. The City of Safety Harbor dedicated their skate park to Ian Tilmann in April 2007 & renamed it The Ian Tilmann Skate Park.
In November 2005, The Ian Tilmann Foundation was created in memory of our son. The Foundation is a tax-exempt public charity. The Ian Tilmann Foundation's "Helmet For A Promise" program provides free custom-ordered skater's helmets to skateboarders nationwide that promise to wear the helmet whenever they skate. The Foundation created the "Skate Smart Project" to help get the information out to skateboarders about the risk of brain injuries when skateboarding without a helmet. Remember Ian's message to all skateboarders....
"Skate Smart...Wear A Helmet...Live To Skate Tomorrow!"