August 1999 Bulletin

Orthopaedists conduct research project at Special Olympics

Thirty-two orthopaedic surgeons volunteered their time and skills to participate in the Academy's foot and ankle research project at the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The education and research fair was held in conjunction with Special Olympics International, Inc., at the 1999 World Summer Games, June 26-July 4. Special Olympics athletes are youths and adults with mental retardation. Some 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 150 countries competed in 19 games in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Cary, N.C.

The orthopaedic surgeons examined the feet and ankles of more than 2,600 athletes to gather research data on foot and ankle conditions of people who have mental retardation. The Academy also manned an educational booth where athletes were able to talk one-on-one with physicians and get the Academy's latest injury prevention information and sports safety tips, a Happy Feet pin and a T-shirt featuring Snoopy walking and saying, "To move is to live-to live is to move."

The Academy also held a free continuing medical education course for physicians and allied health professionals. The course is part of the Academy's education and research initiative to raise awareness of the musculoskeletal health care needs of the 7.5 million Americans who have mental retardation. Lowell H. Gill, MD, was course chairman.

William W. Tipton Jr., MD, executive vice president, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; and Donald K. Bynum Jr., MD, were co-chairmen of the Academy's Special Olympics Healthy Athletes National Steering Committee.

During the opening ceremonies, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics International, Inc. told the athletes, "Your courage, will and determination lets you soar to new heights-and your strong spirit has inspired your mothers and fathers and your communities. It's easy to see the extraordinary revolution you have created."

The enthusiastic response of the athletes and the Academy fellow volunteers to the Academy's Special Olympics Healthy Athletes program is fueling the Academy's plans to participate in the Special Olympics 2001 World Winter Games which will be held in Anchorage, Alaska, March 3-10, 2001.

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