“The first playground was built when I was AAOS president,” said S. Terry Canale, MD. “I’ll have to admit that I had concerns about the longevity of the idea—whether or not we’d be able to keep building them—but now we’ve done our ninth one, some of the state and specialty societies have done them as well, and I’d say that the playground builds have developed legs of their own.”
Stephen S. Hurst, MD, an orthopaedist from San Mateo, Calif. and member-at-large of the AAOS Public Relations Oversight Group, participated in this year’s build at Balboa Park.
“I have the good fortune to have first-hand knowledge of how the playgrounds benefit the community, because in 2001, the AAOS built one in San Mateo,” said Dr. Hurst. “I get to see my grandsons play on it, and they love it. I also get to see some of my patients who have physical challenges play on it with their siblings; that’s one of the few times they can share that experience.”
Playgrounds built by the AAOS are meant to last—even through Hurricane Katrina. “We’ve built so many; perhaps in the future we should look at some of the older playgrounds we’ve built, see how they’re holding up, and see if our energies would be better spent refurbishing them the next time we come back to town,” said Dr. Canale.