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15 October 2021

‘One choice could change your life, forever’

Blackfriars students in Years 10 and 11 have attended the most important party of…

Blackfriars students in Years 10 and 11 have attended the most important party of their young lives.

The boys this week took part in the Royal Adelaide Hospital’s Prevent Alcohol & Risk-related Trauma in Youth (PARTY) Program.

The students spent a day in the James O’Doherty Theatre, hearing from frontline health workers and people who have survived major trauma in a confronting, no-holes-barred presentation about the potentially devastating consequences of risky behaviour and poor decision-making.

“Data collected across Australia shows that trauma involving 15-25 year olds is still on the increase. Much is preventable, as it is often the result of a toxic combination of alcohol and/or drugs and risk-related behaviour.”

According to recent statistics, 80% of young males between the ages of 15 and 19 who present to the RAH’s emergency department record a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit of 0.05.

Trauma is responsible for 40% of deaths in young people.

“PARTY is an innovative program that draws on the experiences of trauma professionals and trauma survivors to educate young people, by showing them what can happen when they make a risky decision,” its website says.

Its headline message is simple – One choice could change your life, forever.

The aftermath of Mr Al-Sarawi’s accident on 13 October, 2017. Picture: The Advertiser

The boys heard from Najee Al-Sarawi, who was given just a 10% chance of survival following a motorcycle accident.

While the accident was not his fault, he said riding his motorbike in peak-hour traffic was an example of poor decision making.

He spent a month in a coma, lost a lung and has endured 16 surgeries since a ute crashed into his motorcycle in North Adelaide in October 2017.

He urged the boys to consider the risks in their lives.

“I am not here to make you boys feel bad. I am here for you guys to just realise it could happen to any of us,” Mr Al-Sarawi said.

“I never got this talk at school, and I wish I did, because I might have just made that smarter decision to begin with. That’s why I am here for you.”

The boys were also challenged to imagine life with a disability – asked to try something as simple as buttering a piece of bread without the use of their dominant hand or putting on a shirt.