You never think it’ll happen to you until it does.

I wake up each day with a mission: to reach more people, more of you, with an introduction to the company I’m a part of and the solutions we provide with our products.

I spend countless hours brainstorming with our marketing team. I travel the country attending events in an effort to educate the masses on the dangers of inattentiveness related to headphone use, while preaching the benefits of ours (AfterShokz). I exhaust our ad budget telling our story. Mainstream media reports on the issue, though there’s little research on the topic and what does exist is outdated. News outlets will cover lives lost — but there’s a gap in follow up as it relates to products or activities dedicated to solving the problem.

Here’s where shit gets real...

I went for a pre-dawn run this morning. I’m proud to say serious workout time has become part of my daily routine as I train for the United Relay of America. I consciously grabbed my husband’s Apple earbuds as I left the house, because I knew my Trekz Titanium were stashed in my locker at the gym. My music was loud, as it is always, because the only way I can run is when I lose myself in something else.

I paused before crossing Hwy 6, looked both ways to make sure it was clear, and just as I stepped into the street a car came barreling down and nearly clipped me. I barely saw it in my peripheral vision (no headlights). I didn’t hear it AT ALL. All I heard was Kanye. The car sped by, without even bothering to swerve. After I stopped shaking (and cursing the oblivious driver), I turned around and walked home. The whole way back I blamed him (or her) for driving so fast, so recklessly, for not even bothering to swerve or slow down. I tried to recall details about the vehicle, make/model/color/license plate, as if I was going to track this person down and reprimand him for being so obtuse!

I started blurting out the details of this experience to my husband the second I walked through the door. After a hug and my assurance that I was fine he said simply, “You, of all people, should know better than to run without your AfterShokz.” And I certainly can’t argue that point. Now that I’m several hours outside the incident and much more calm, my perspective has shifted. Sure, that driver was probably pushing the speed limit; and yes, it wasn’t quite bright enough outside to be driving without headlights on. But I was just as reckless! I preach the dangers of inattention every day, yet couldn’t have been more inattentive in that particular moment if I’d tried. #fail

And here’s my point in sharing this...

The company I work for makes a very good thing. Though we call these things headphones, what they really are is much more. Our products solve a problem that many of us run into in some capacity all the time (whether we’re running, strolling, cycling, driving, cooking, you name it!). But we take it for granted. Or don't realize its worth until IT PROVES ITS WORTH. Don’t pull a “me” — if you’re going to run outdoors (especially roadside), you need to keep your ears open. If you don’t have your AfterShokz handy, skip the playlist today! Better to be safe than sorry. I won’t make that mistake again.


2 Responses

Kim Fassetta
Kim Fassetta

April 06, 2016

Stephen,
WOW. First, thank you for your service. You’re a hero and we salute you! And secondly, thank you for sharing your story with us. You’re the reason we do what we do here at AfterShokz, and your experience is exactly why I chose to share my near miss. We’re all glad to hear you survived and are doing well. We’ll continue to remind the public to be aware, cautious and preventative. And I’ll keep you in my thoughts!

Stephen Clemmons
Stephen Clemmons

April 06, 2016

I have a similar story, but with a more tragic outcome.

I’ve been a soldier in the TX Army National Guard for over 12 years and have deployed 4 times overseas with no injuries.

I was out jogging in the early evening and was about 2 miles into my run when the sun went down.

I was wearing in the ear headphones, but keep one slightly out of my ear in order to hear my surroundings. I heard the vehicle coming up fast behind me, and was even in the oncoming lane to keep my eyes on head on traffic. The last thing I remember is thinking to step into the ditch because I felt the need to get off the road.

The next time I had a lucid memory was two weeks later in the hospital, where I learned that I was the victim of a hit and run accident. It was pure luck that I was even found, left for dead in a ditch, and spent 1 month in trauma care before I could be transferred to a long term care facility.

I’ve been telling everyone I know and anyone I meet to not take the risk. Find a track, a park, or just go to the gym. I did everything right and it still happened.

I do agree that the product is AMAZING. I have a set of Aftershokz now, but I would still caution anyone to run in an area closed to traffic. I’m still in physical therapy and experience constant pain almost 2 years later.

The message you are spreading is INCREDIBLE and it needs to be said. If there is anything I can do to help with this effort, please feel free to reach out to me and let me know.

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