Operation good will: Orthopaedists build safe, accessible playground
Volunteers put the finishing touches on the new playground in New Orleans City Park
By Nancy Fehr
The children of New Orleans have a new, safe and wheelchair accessible playground, thanks to the volunteer efforts of several hundred orthopaedic surgeons and their families, industry representatives, members of other medical organizations, Academy staff and local volunteers. At New Orleans 1,500-acre City Park, children with and without disabilities can now play together safely in a 5,896 square-foot playground built Tuesday, Feb 4, 2003the day before the Annual Meeting began.
The award-winning Safe, Accessible Playground building program is part of the ongoing AAOS campaign, "Prevent Injuries America!®," aimed at reducing musculoskeletal injuries. It provides an opportunity to visibly support playground safety. Doctors in the United States treat more than one-half million playground-related injuries each year.
"Providing a safe playground where kids with and without disabilities can play together gives us the opportunity to prevent, not just treat, our young patients injuries," explained Vernon Tolo, MD, 2002 AAOS president and a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon.
Playground exceeds ADA guidelines
The New Orleans City Park playgrounddesigned by neighborhood children and adults with and without disabilitiesincludes slides, swings, climbing and balancing activities and a variety of play stations for imaginary activities. It exceeds Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines for accessibility and offers important safety features:
The playground opened to the public in late February, after a safety surface was installed.
Fourth playground, more to come
The New Orleans playground is the fourth safe, accessible playground built by Academy volunteers. The Academy pledges to continue building safe, accessible playgrounds each year in the city where it holds its Annual Meeting. Previously built playgrounds in California, Florida and Texas have inspired many state and local orthopaedic groups to build similar projects throughout the country.
AAOS works with KaBOOM!, a national nonprofit organization that leads teams in building safe playgrounds around the world. Coalition partners assisting in this years project included New Orleans City Park, Friends of City Park and United Cerebral Palsy of Greater New Orleans.
DePuy, a Johnson & Johnson Co.
Smith + Nephew, Inc.,
Beere Precision Medical
Centerpulse Orthopedics, Inc.
GE Medical Systems LUNAR
Medtronic Sofamor Danek
Bledsoe Brace Systems
Dr. and Mrs. Stuart A. Hirsch
Paragon Medical, Inc.
Sgarlato Labs, Inc.
National Association of
Wright Medical Technology, Inc.
City Park of New Orleans gratefully recognizes generous support from Friends of City Park and Boh Brothers.