By Carolyn Rogers
As interest in Major League Baseball heated up during the final weeks of the regular season, the Academy took full advantage of the “buzz” by teaming up with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) to present a fun, educational event for kids promoting the importance of being physically active, eating healthy and building strong bones.
|At the Pittsburgh Pirates’ PNC Park, orthopaedist Mark J. Sangimino, MD, (center) talks to kids about the important role exercise plays in preventing orthopaedic problems as they mature.|
The public awareness event, “Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth” (PLAY), brought Pittsburgh-area children, teachers and members of the media onto the playing field at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park for the chance to meet a Major League baseball player and talk to orthopaedic surgeons and certified athletic trainers about staying strong, active and healthy.
AAOS ‘steps up to the plate’
Mark J. Sangimino, MD—a Pittsburgh-based pediatric orthopaedic surgeon—represented the Academy at the event, talking to kids about orthopaedic problems that can result from childhood obesity and sharing advice on how to stay fit and build strong bones.
The program kicked off on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 22, 2004, a few hours prior to a Pirates’ home game against the Chicago Cubs. More than 100 children, school officials and members of the media spilled onto the field at PNC Park, where they gathered to hear welcoming remarks from former Pittsburgh Pirate Lynn Swann, now chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, and Brad Henderson, the Pirates’ head athletic trainer.
Next, the kids broke into “teams” and rotated around four “bases” set up in the outfield in the shape of a diamond. Each base was staffed by a medical professional who spoke briefly about an exercise or health-related topic.
|Topics and presenters were:
First base: “How you can stay physically active” by Mike Sandoval, assistant athletic trainer
Second base: “Preventing injuries” by Mark Rogow, assistant athletic trainer
Third Base: “Stay fit to build strong bones” by Mark Sangamino, MD, AAOS; and Brad Henderson, head athletic trainer
Home Plate: “Healthy eating” by Frank Velasquez, strength and conditioning coach
After making it around all four bases, the boys and girls regrouped at home plate for the much anticipated “meet and greet” with Pirate’s infielder Jack Wilson. The All-Star shortstop greeted the fans, shared his ideas on keeping fit and active, answered questions, posed for photos and autographed dozens of “Jack Wilson” PLAY pledge cards.
The group was in high spirits as they settled in for lunch at the park’s picnic area, where they were treated to entertainment by the enthusiastic team mascot, the “Pirate Parrot.”
At the end of the day, it didn’t matter whether the scoreboard showed a “W” or an “L”—the event was a “win-win” for everyone involved. The Pirate’s organization and players connected with their fans; the orthopaedist and trainers “got the word out” to the media about combating childhood obesity, and the kids took home lifelong memories of one very special day at the ol’ ballpark.
|Promote PLAY in your own community
The guidelines and “key messages” used by orthopaedic surgeons, athletic trainers and others in developing their PLAY presentations are listed below. These guidelines can easily be adapted for use in presentations to your own community.
Exercise and staying healthy
Stretching and Injury Prevention