EAST LANSING - William Gholston and Lawrence Thomas wreak havoc on the football field playing for the Michigan State Spartans, but a car crash could have ended their promising young careers if they had not made the simple and easy choice to wear their seat belts.
Prior to Monday's practice, the players were honored with "Saved by the Belt" awards, presented by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP), AAA Michigan and MSU Police.
Gholston and Thomas were presented with their plaques by OHSP Director Michael Prince, Lt. Randy Holton and Sgt. Florene Taylor from MSU Police and Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio.
On May 2, Gholston and Thomas were traveling on 1-96 when their vehicle was struck causing them to leave the roadway and their car to flip over multiple times, coming to rest in a ditch. The two suffered only minor injuries, thanks to their seats belts.
"This was a very serious crash that could have easily been a fatality had Mr. Gholston and Mr. Thomas not been properly belted," Prince said. "It is for this reason that we recognize them with the 'Saved by the Belt' award, in hope others will follow their lead."
The "Saved by the Belt" program is a joint effort between OHSP and AAA Michigan that encourages law enforcement officers to nominate everyday people who have been involved in crashes and made the life-saving choice to buckle up. "Saved by the Belt" awards are presented to crash survivors to bring attention to the importance of seat belts.
Wearing a seat belt is the single best means of protection in a crash and seat belt use increases the chance of surviving a crash by 45 percent. Michigan's seat belt use rate is one of the highest in the nation and seat belts save thousands of lives every year.