Published 9/1/2007
Nicholas DiNubile, MD

Hot topics top summer safety reports

Academy serves as authoritative source for orthopaedic information

As children return to school, the media’s fascination with roller shoes continues to roll along. An article on the financial Web site, “The Motley Fool,” reported that stock prices for the company that manufactures the roller shoes recently took a tumble. The article attributes at least some of the slump to a June study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the safety guidelines issued by the AAOS. Although the company defended the safety of the footwear, the “Fool” said the damage had already been done.

Leon S. Benson, MD, was recently interviewed by the Los Angeles Times on the prevalence of injuries in children and adults who are now donning the roller shoes and what safety precautions can be taken to prevent those broken wrists, arms, and shoulders.

Heading back to school
Many reporters want to know how to protect young backs and shoulders from oversized and overstuffed back packs as children return to school. Comments from Lori A. Karol, MD, are included in a WebMD.com piece on how to avoid carrying those heavy back packs and the injuries that might be associated with them.

In Philadelphia, the “Moms on the Move” television program featured the AAOS public service announcement and press release about all-terrain vehicle safety. They also provided a link to the PSA and to the AAOS on the “Websites We Recommend” page of their site. The Philadelphia Inquirer interviewed Angela D. Smith, MD, for a story on the prevalence of playground injuries and how children can play safe on the playground.

Brett A. Taylor, MD, will appear in an interview with Women’s Health magazine about posture and its impact on our overall health.

Lawnmowers and trampoline safety
Two “Prevent Injuries America!” press releases—lawnmower safety and trampoline safety—seemed to strike a chord all over the country.

Lawnmower accidents are indeed a serious problem, says Dr. Karol, who reports that, on average, one amputation a month is performed in her practice on young children due to lawnmower accidents. The AAOS partnered with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery, whose president Lawrence Colen, MD, was quoted in the release. It is especially gratifying to see how the media embraced the story and helped to get the word out. More than 103 publications—including WebMD, The Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The San Diego Union, St. Petersburg Times, St. Paul Pioneer Press, and Austin American Statesman—featured the release.

Health and You featured trampoline safety and John M. Purvis, MD. Dr. Purvis advised parents “not to allow your child to jump on trampolines, period.” He also provided a list of DOs and DON’Ts to keep children who do use trampolines safe, noting that “most injuries…occur on the surface of the trampoline, rather than flying off it.” Readers were directed to the AAOS Web site for more information.

Visiting scholars
To ensure that U.S. troops get the ultimate care, former Academy President Richard F. Kyle, MD, joined Andrew N. Pollak, MD, at the Academy-sponsored Visiting Scholars Program at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. This program pairs the talents of civilian orthopaedic surgeons and military trauma surgeons. We are happy to report that the Visiting Scholars Program is fully staffed by Academy volunteers until June 2008.

Before leaving, both doctors participated in several television interviews. Dr. Kyle was featured in stories by both KSTP-TV and KARE-TV in Minneapolis. In Baltimore, WBAL-TV did an in-depth story about the trip and aired Dr. Pollak’s entire unedited 20-minute interview on their Web site so viewers could learn more. WBAL-Radio also did a feature on the trip and interviewed Dr. Pollak.

Other hot topics
In a joint effort with the National Athletic Trainers Association, Academy members Robert C. Klapper, MD, and Michael L. Pearl, MD, will address the New York City chapter of the Writers Guild of America about accuracy in portraying orthopaedic surgeons and ortho-paedic injuries in film and television.

A U.S. News & World Report article on artificial knees featured an interview with Kimberly J. Templeton, MD, an AAOS spokesperson.

The Real Simple article on “Making it Last from A to Z” featured some terrific insights on how to make our knees last, provided by William L. Healy, MD. Dr. Healy’s suggestions included keeping the quadriceps strong, watching the weight, warming up before exercising, and “listening” to the knees. If there is a problem, he says, early intervention is the key.

The Oregonian took a look at whether patients with back pain do better with or without surgery. The interview featured Arya Nick Shamie, MD, director of the Spine Center at UCLA Medical Center and an AAOS spokesperson.

SELF magazine featured AAOS spokesperson Laura L. Tosi, MD, in an article on osteoporosis. Dr. Tosi told readers that women whose mothers or grandmothers experienced a fractured hip are more likely to experience a break. She also advised considering a bone scan if the individual has additional risk factors such as a previous fracture.

Nicholas DiNubile, MD, is chair of the Public Relations Oversight Group. If you would like to serve as a spokesperson for the AAOS, contact the public relations department at julitz@aaos.org.