Today's News

Wednesday, March 15, 2000

AAOS, volunteers build playground

More than 400 Academy members and industry representatives, from throughout world - from France and Switzerland to Japan and Korea - pitched in Tuesday to build a new safe, accessible playground for students at Magnolia School in Orlando.

The playground is a way to say "thank you" to the Annual Meeting host city and served as the launch of the Academy's new national injury prevention program - "Prevent Injuries America! Move Better. Play Better. Live Better." The multifaceted public education program is designed to provide the public with important safety guidelines to prevent orthopaedic-related injuries. More than 500,000 children are injured on playgrounds every year.

The activities started at 8 a.m. when orthopaedic surgeons and industry representatives began the first stages of the playground construction by assembling the accessible play structure.

Throughout the day, volunteers also worked with the students of Magnolia School - all of who have disabilities - in other play environment projects. Many of the volunteers also brought their families to help.

As the day went on many others joined the volunteer effort, including representatives of 31 state orthopaedic societies and the AAOS Board of Directors, following their Board meeting.

"Many of the children at Magnolia School are all too familiar with orthopaedic surgeons only in a hospital setting," said AAOS President Robert D. D'Ambrosia, MD. "The playground build helps the students, their families and teachers along with the community to see that we also care about them as kids who want to have fun."

The new 3,428-square-foot playground features a unique design to meet the special needs of the students. The playground includes rubber safety surfacing material, wheelchair accessible ramps, play panel activities and transfer stations to make play easier for the children. It also features slides, climbing and balancing activities and steering wheels for imaginary play activities.

The day-long event included entertainment featuring the SeaWorld Polynesian dancers, food and refreshments. Local community officials also were present at the event that concluded with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony.

"The support of the orthopaedic community to this project has been overwhelming," said Stuart A. Hirsch, MD, chairman of the Communications Council and AAOS treasurer.

The Academy conducted a satellite media tour at the playground site where John M. Purvis, MD, chair of the Public and Media Relations Committee, and Maureen Finnegan, MD, chair of the Injury Prevention Committee, participated in live television interviews to publicize the event to the nation.

Helping Dr. Purvis and Dr. Finnegan was Matthew Cavedon and Bridget Houlihan who told the television reporters about the importance of building safe, accessible playgrounds for kids. Matthew is a patient of John Banta, MD, and Bridget is a patient of Frank Chang, MD.

A video news release, including interviews with Dr. D'Ambrosia and Dr. Purvis, will be distributed today to more than 800 television stations in the U.S. A special video highlighting yesterday's activities will be shown at today's Opening Ceremony.

Assisting the Academy with the construction of the playground was KaBOOM! and Boundless Playgrounds, national nonprofit organizations dedicated to creating safe and accessible play areas for children. The West Orlando Rotary, Silver Star Lions, Orange County Schools, West Learning Community and many other local Orlando community groups also volunteered to help with the project.

"Our students are very excited about the new playground, and have been enthusiastically planning for its arrival," said Tracy Franco, assistant principal, Magnolia School. "From our 'Design Day' to the recent 'Safety Day' where some of our older students discussed important playground safety rules, our students have been active participants in its construction since day one."

The project was developed and funded by the Academy. Support for the playground also came from orthopaedic industry representatives including: Stryker Corporation; DePuy ACE, a Johnson & Johnson Company; DePuy Orthopaedics, a Johnson & Johnson Company; Joint Venture; Mitek Products; Ortho Biotech, Inc.; Smith+Nephew; Zimmer, Inc.; Sulzer Orthopaedics, Inc.; Bledsoe Brace Systems; GE Medical Systems; Blackstone Medical; Exactech, Inc.; Wright Medical Technology Inc.; Aventis Pharmaceuticals; AESCULAP; Home Depot; Fluoroscan Imaging Systems, Inc.; Paragon Medical, Inc.; and William Blair and Company.

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Last modified 17/May/2000 by IS