ATLANTA -- A local mother is sending a serious warning to parents as kids head back to college after her son barely survived fallout out of his bed.
Because she refused to give up, new safety changes are now in place at all Georgia colleges and universities.
The Jacobs family wants safety rails to be standard on all college and university beds – no questions asked. After Clark Jacobs fell out of his 7-foot loft, the family said they struggled to understand the danger they never knew was there.
Clark was heading into his college years with excitement - never wary of the incident that would change his life.
“It was incredible; it was the most exciting time of my life by far,” Clark said.
He wasn’t sure he would ever walk again after falling out of his bed at Georgia Tech – let alone walk back on campus.
He returned to Tech after a year and a half of intense physical therapy and rehabilitation.
“It was by far the hardest part of my life but I got through it,” he said.
When he hit the floor, he fractured his skull and suffered a traumatic brain injury. While he was in a coma for 2 months, his mom decided to start a foundation to educate other families about the danger.
“It’s intentional that it’s graphic and hard to look at,” Clark’s mom Mariellen said. “Because we walked those roads and it was horrible and graphic – and gut wrenching – and no one needs to go through that.”
They made a public service announcement to help educate families and started pushing for legislation to mandate safety rails on all college beds.
“It’s been under the radar for far too long,” Mariellen said. “And it needs to be in the bright open light and taken seriously.”
Starting in 2017, all colleges and universities will offer the safety rails free of charge to students if they want them – but they don’t come standard.
“Even if it’s just, you fall out of bed and chip a tooth it’s not worth it,” Clark said. “Why take the chance?”
Clark and his mom think the rails should just be part of the package on campus and one less thing for students to worry about.
“When you walk into that dorm your freshman year, you’re just like, ‘This is where I’m sleeping. Cool.’ You’re not thinking, ‘Is my bed safe?’ No one ever asks that even though you should,” Clark said.
Clark and Mariellen have a booth at Georgia Tech orientation now and they say new students will tell them they don’t want a safety rail on their bed because of how it looks. Clark’s response: Well how would you like to drool on yourself and have your parents change your diapers at 20 years old.
They say that changes kids’ minds pretty fast.
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