July 1995 Bulletin

Fellows promote new Play It Safe program

Inform coaches, athletes about prevention of injuries

Since its introduction in May, the Academy's new public education program - Play It Safe, A Guide to Safety for Young Athletes - has been generating a lot of interest from members who are promoting the prevention message in their communities.

Sutter West Orthopaedics in Woodland, Calif. sponsors a "Coaches Clinic" every year. At the clinic, Academy members Elise Smith-Hoefer, MD, and Jeffrey A. Metheny, MD, educate coaches about the types of injuries young athletes can sustain while participating in sports activities and how to prevent them. The day-long event also includes presentations on throwing injuries, knee problems, and rehabilitation programs.

This year, every coach at the clinic will receive a free Play It Safe brochure and poster to bring back to their schools to share with their student athletes.

Joseph Butts, MD, of Richmond, Texas, plans to distribute 3,000 Play It Safe brochures this summer in his community.

Every year, Dr. Butts organizes pre-season screening examinations for junior high school and high school level athletes. Once an athlete is examined, he or she is given a packet containing information about practice schedules from coaches and summer conditioning tips. This year, the Play It Safe brochure will be included in the packet.

Dr. Butts also is involved with the local YMCA in his area, and plans to distribute the Play It Safe brochure to children and their parents when they register for a sports team sponsored by the youth organization.

"I have always been a big believer that we can prevent injuries if we take the time to educate people about how to avoid them," said Dr. Butts. "The Play It Safe program complements this philosophy."

At University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, the department of orthopaedic surgery at Parkland Memorial Hospital and Children's Memorial Hospital ordered 1,500 Play It Safe brochures for display in their pediatric emergency department waiting rooms. They also are decorating the walls of the rooms with Play It Safe posters.

"During the summer, we treat a lot of children injured from playing all types of sports - everything from baseball to rollerblading," said Becky McMahon, staff member, department of orthopaedic surgery. "We think the brochure is a great way to educate them about how to avoid injury."

Play It Safe is being promoted by many organizations, including the National Federation of High School Associations, National Safe Kids organization, National Association of Governor's Councils on Physical Fitness and Sports, and American School Health Association.

The New York Times, Associated Press, and other media are also alerting the public about the program.

Play It Safe is sponsored by the Academy, Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, Canadian Orthopaedic Association, and American Academy of Sports Medicine.

Fellows who want to distribute Play It Safe brochures and posters in their community can contact the Academy's department of communications, (800) 346-2267, ext. 4123.

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