Orthopaedics continues to garner a tremendous amount of media attention across a wide range of outlets—from broadcast and print to Internet blogs and Web sites. AAOS efforts have helped the media focus on several positive, important issues in orthopaedics.
Extremity War Injuries Symposium
A new Web portal, www.aaos.org/warinjuries, provides the latest information on how orthopaedic surgeons are making positive contributions in understanding and treating these catastrophic injuries.
The AAOS symposium, Extremity War Injuries II: Development of Clinical Treatment Principles, held Jan. 23-24, 2007, was a truly informative, educational, and well-attended event. As a result, a number of features appeared in both civilian and military media, including Newsweek; Marine Corps, Army, Navy and Air Force Times, U.S. News & World Report, Associated Press, Scripps Howard News Service, and Elsevier Publishing. The AAOS continues to get calls from reporters who want to cover this critically important issue.
John R. Tongue, MD, helped get the word out about the importance of taking certain safety measures when participating in winter sports. More than 12 million people enjoy winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and sledding. The data show that one out of every 30 individuals who take part in winter sports will sustain some kind of injury.
Dr. Tongue, along with snowboarder Stacy Thomas, reached an audience of 8 million people through 12 satellite feeds and three different radio interviews. There were also a host of print publications that carried this “play hard but play safe” story, which included practical suggestions on how to prevent injuries while enjoying your favorite sports.
Jeep plans to partner with AAOS again next year to get these important messages out to winter sport participants.
Hips resurfaced, not replaced
Hip resurfacing, a procedure first tried in the 1990s, is making a new appearance. Hip resurfacing presents “baby boomers” with an alternative to hip replacement, although the procedure is not without its detractors. Only a fraction of orthopaedic surgeons have been trained on this controversial procedure, which was featured at the 2007 AAOS Annual Meeting in San Diego.
Scott A. Rubinstein, MD, who performs hip resurfacing, was interviewed for an Associated Press story that had wide coverage, appearing in the Chicago Tribune; The Capital in Annapolis, Md.; MSNBC.com; The Boston Herald; and the Ventura County Star in California. It also ran in numerous health newsletters, blogs, and Web sites.
“Prevent Injuries America”
The “Prevent Injuries America” news releases also continue to get excellent coverage. Pieces on preventing injuries while raking and participating in winter sports appeared in 24 different markets, while the number of ladder safety tips appearances is up to nearly 100 publications, and tips on preventing injuries while shoveling snow ran in 36 markets.
Thanks to Noah S. Finkel, MD, who helped with the winter sports stories; Dwight W. Burney III, MD, and Jeffrey Mark Smith, MD, who served as spokespersons for the ladder safety releases; Alexander Blevens, MD, who served a similar role for the raking injuries and winter sports releases; and Raj D. Rao, MD, and Johnny C. Benjamin Jr, MD, who represented the Academy for the snow shoveling releases. I served as a spokesperson for articles on avoiding problems when doing yoga, a topic that generated 19 articles, including stories in the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and the international edition of the Miami Herald.
The conference held last fall in New York on “Booming Seniors” is still generating coverage. Scripps Howard News Service syndicate filed a story on “boomeritis” and aging after California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger broke his femur while skiing. It ran in hundreds of daily newspapers all over the country, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Matthew S. Shapiro, MD, was our spokesperson in the piece about the governor’s fracture.
Eight daily newspapers and KSHB-TV (the NBC affiliate in Kansas City, Mo.) did stories on cheerleading injuries. The Sacramento Bee published a series of stories on a local cheerleader who broke her neck while the team was trying out a new trick. That piece discussed how serious cheerleading injuries are on the rise as teams attempt more daring and dangerous moves. Some are calling for regulations to prevent these very tragic situations from occurring. AAOS President James H. Beaty, MD, was the spokesperson for the cheerleading release.
On a personal note, I am happy to report that Men’s Health chose one of my quotes as their “Metaphor of the Month.” To make medical journalism more “consumer friendly,” the magazine picks one illustrative quote each month. My quote, which originally appeared in a Reuters story about sports medicine programs designed to help young athletes avoid overuse injuries, compared a teenager’s pitching arm to a paper clip: “It’s almost like a paper clip that you bend once or twice and it’s fine but you keep bending it and all of a sudden it snaps.”
Nicholas A. DiNubile, MD, is chair of the Public Relations Oversight Group.