Children had the opportunity to share their ideas of a “dream playground” during design day.
Courtesy of Addy Kujawa


Published 1/1/2009
Addy Kujawa

Preparing for a playground

Children have their say at Design Day

Can you build an entire safe and accessible playground in just one day? Academy members know the answer is “Absolutely!” But getting to that day takes months of planning and preparation.

First comes the challenge of finding the right partners and the right place. This year, AAOS will be working with Communities in Schools—the nation’s largest dropout prevention organization—and Nevada Partners—a community-based, non-profit organization established in 1992 to provide education, employment, and training services to youth, adults, and dislocated workers. Fred C. Redfern, MD, president of the Nevada Orthopedic Society, connected the AAOS with the two partners and the building site.

The right place is Las Vegas, the site of the 2009 AAOS Annual Meeting. During the Bone and Joint Decade (2002–2011), the AAOS has committed to building a safe, accessible playground each year in the city where it holds its Annual Meeting. It’s all part of the Academy’s ongoing commitment to injury prevention.

Getting involved
Children from the communities in North Las Vegas let their imaginations soar during “Playground Design Day,” on Dec. 4, 2008. They put crayons and markers to paper, drawing the playground of their dreams. They participated in an afternoon of interactive exercises aimed at sharing what the ideal playground looks like to them, where children with and without disabilities can play together. Dr. Redfern addressed the group on injury prevention, safe playgrounds, and how and why orthopaedic surgeons are involved.

Those ideas and wishes will be incorporated into a design that will become the Academy’s 2009 playground. Local organizations, parents, industry volunteers, and Academy members will turn an empty lot into a safe, accessible playground.

The playground-build project is a perfect fit for orthopaedic surgeons, who treat children’s physical disabilities, and see first-hand the fractures, dislocations, and other results of playground injuries. Participating is “contagious,” according to Jeffrey Mark Smith, MD, whose first playground build was four years ago. “Each time I’m trying to get a little more involved because this is so much fun.”

Timothy L. Beck, MD, agrees. “It’s nice to get out and do a little physical activity,” says Dr. Beck.

“Orthopaedic surgeons enjoy hands-on projects like this,” says Richard J. Mutty, MD. “It’s a wonderful change of pace and a great opportunity to meet people and help a community.”

We need your help!
To sign up to participate in the 2009 Las Vegas playground build on Tuesday, Feb. 24, contact Pat Julitz at or (847) 384-4036.

Playground sponsors
The Academy appreciates the generosity of the 2009 playground sponsors, an amazing list of sponsors. We want to take this opportunity to thank them all for their generous contributions to the safe, accessible playground build.

DePuy , a Johnson & Johnson Co./ DePuy Mitek
Michigan Orthopaedic Society
NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

ArthroCare Sports Medicine
Foundation for Orthopedic Trauma
Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation

Canon U.S.A.,Inc.
Wolters Kluwer Health - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Aesculap, Inc.
American Society of Orthopaedic Physician’s Assistants
Arthrex Inc.
Ascension Orthopedics
Association of Residency Coordinators in Orthopaedic Surgery
Bonutti Technologies
DJO Surgical
Dr. Stuart & Lisa Hirsch
Dr. Stephen & Sonya Hurst
Medfix Solutions, Inc.
National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses
Nevada Orthopedic Society
NovaCare Rehabilitation
Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board
Osteotech, Inc.
Paragon Medical, Inc.
Pegasus Biologics
Richard Wolf Medical Instruments Corp.
Symmetry Medical, Inc.
Tecres Spa
The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery
Tornier, Inc.
Traiber, S.L.
Ziehm Imaging