(Left) AAOS President Frederick M. Azar, MD, poses with 2014 MORE Award winner Pamela Dittmer McKuen, a freelance writer who won for her story on joint replacement for Chicago Life Magazine. (Right) Vietnam veteran Lou Nonay poses with his orthopaedic surgeon, Evalina L. Burger, MD, and Dr. Azar at the MORE awards.


Published 7/1/2014
Alan S. Hilibrand, MD

MORE Award Winners Honored

Journalists and special guests from across the country attend

The Academy celebrated another year of excellence in reporting on bone and joint health-related news stories at the 2014 Media Orthopaedic Reporting Excellence (MORE) Awards. The awards recognize the efforts of journalists who further the public’s understanding of orthopaedic-related health issues. Winners were invited to attend the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC) for an awards banquet on May 1, 2014, in Washington, D.C.

This year’s winning journalists came from a variety of print, broadcast, and online media outlets including NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, CNN, Inside Edition, USA Today, Angie’s List Magazine, and others. (See “2014 MORE Award Winners,” below.)

To win a MORE Award, a story must be unique and medically accurate. It should also evoke emotion and promote a greater awareness of musculoskeletal health to the general public. Stories are judged by the AAOS Communications Cabinet. This year’s winning journalists wrote and produced stories across many areas of orthopaedics, including the following:

  • new advances in joint replacement surgery
  • the legacy of Tommy John surgery
  • the mystery of the “second skeleton”

Honorees also profiled patients who overcame various bone and joint health conditions, including limb deformities and military trauma.

“The media plays a meaningful role in educating our patients and the general public about who orthopaedic surgeons are and what we do to help restore function and mobility,” said AAOS President Frederick M. Azar, MD. “We consider them our partner in sharing musculoskeletal health information, and we applaud those journalists who go the extra mile to disseminate accurate and engaging stories in print, online, on television or radio.”

A few of the patients who were featured in the award-winning stories were present at the ceremony to share their experiences and thank the orthopaedic surgeons who helped restore their mobility. Here are two of their stories.

Wounds of the Vietnam War
It was a surprise attack by the Vietcong in Da Nang that first injured Lou Nonay. When he heard a fellow Marine yelling for help, Mr. Nonay ran toward the enemy fire to rescue him. His actions saved that wounded Marine’s life, but nearly cost him his own. During the rescue, Mr. Nonay was hit in the spine by a bullet that would leave him a paraplegic and lead to unexplainable pain and illness more than 40 years later.

Evalina L. Burger, MD, concluded that a severe infection in the area of his long-healed bullet wound was to blame for his deteriorating health, and surgery was necessary to identify the cause. During the 10-hour procedure Dr. Burger made a shocking discovery—Mr. Nonay had been living with a small piece of flak jacket in his back for more than 40 years!

Mr. Nonay attended the event to thank Dr. Burger for removing the piece of flak jacket and shared his story with NOLC attendees. He is incredibly grateful for the care he received and now is pain free. He appreciates the efforts of the NBC 9 News team in Colorado who were able to help visually tell his emotional story.

“Miracle” surgery saves babies’ legs
Two families—the Burkes and the Spraberrys—had children born with severe limb deformities that made walking impossible. Physicians gave the families a grim prognosis and an unbearable choice: amputation or a lifelong disability. That is until they ended up meeting Dror Paley, MD, who specializes in limb deformity and lengthening.

(Left) AAOS President Frederick M. Azar, MD, poses with 2014 MORE Award winner Pamela Dittmer McKuen, a freelance writer who won for her story on joint replacement for Chicago Life Magazine. (Right) Vietnam veteran Lou Nonay poses with his orthopaedic surgeon, Evalina L. Burger, MD, and Dr. Azar at the MORE awards.
Inside Edition producer Chris Dukas poses with Caroline Eaton, office manager for Dr. Dror Paley’s office. Caroline is holding Gracie Burke and Jade Spraberry who were featured in Chris’s winning story about clubfeet and the good work of Dr. Paley.

Dr. Paley’s surgical technique uses an external fixator to slowly return the feet to a normal position. Each day, the parents adjust the fixator’s rods and rings a millimeter at a time to reposition the bone. The Burkes and Spraberrys found new hope for the future mobility of their beautiful girls.

Nominations welcome
A full list of all 2014 MORE Award winners is available at

If you see, read, or hear any accurate orthopaedic health reporting that deserves consideration for a 2015 MORE Award, email media@aaos.org with a link to the story. Stories must be written for a consumer audience and can be from newspapers, magazines, television, the radio, and online outlets. The 2015 MORE Awards will consider stories published or produced between Oct. 1, 2013, and Oct. 1, 2014.

Alan S. Hilibrand, MD, chairs the AAOS Communications Cabinet. He can be reached at ahilibrand@gmail.com

Additional Information:
The award-winning stories

2014 MORE Award Winners

Brian Braiker, Prevention, “Joint Decisions”
Angie’s List Magazine,
“Serious falls put seniors at risk”
Charlotte Huff, American Way, “Revolutionizing Prosthetics”
Tim Layden, Sports Illustrated, “No Couch Can Hold Her”
Pamela Dittmer McKuen, Chicago Life Magazine, “Stunning Advances in Joint Replacement Surgery”
Jeff Wallach, Alaska Airlines Horizon Edition, “Joint Venture—Ideas for lifelong knee health”
Carl Zimmer, The Atlantic, “The Mystery of the Second Skeleton”

Erin Grace, Omaha World-Herald, “Pulling through with trauma surgery, belief in miracles”
Courtney Humphries, The Boston Globe, “Do you really need a knee replacement?”
Linda Lombroso, The Journal News, “Bionic Boomers: A Special Report”
Gary Mihoces, USA Today Sports, “Peterson’s revival proves inspiring”
Greg Zoroya, USA Today, “‘He’s just mangled’—Where do you start?”

JoNel Aleccia, NBCNews.com, “‘Rapid strides’: Limb advances offer hope for Boston amputees”
Will Carroll, bleacherreport.com, “Dr. Frank Jobe, Tommy John and the Surgery That Changed Baseball Forever”
Liz Neporent, ABCNews.com, “Kevin Ware’s Broken Leg Possibly Caused by Undetected Stress Fractures”
Jennifer Roes, BostonHerald.com, “ACL primer: Everything you knee-d to know”
Kelly April Tyrrell, DelawareOnline.com, “Free joint replacement program is a second chance at mobility”
Catherine Winters, SpryLiving.com, “Knee Surgery Success”
Guy Yocom, GolfDigest.com, “My Shot: Stacy Lewis”

Dave Delozier, NBC 9 News Colorado, “Vietnam veteran finally heals 42-year-old wounds of war”
Jane Derenowski, NBC Nightly News, “Brian Williams joins rising numbers of boomers getting new knees”
Heather M. Higgins, CNN: The Next List, “The ability to measure motion without markers would open up a world of possibilities”
Chris Dukas & Charles Lachman, Inside Edition, “Miracle surgery helps baby girls take their first steps”
Janet St. James, WFAA-TV Dallas/Fort Worth, “Year-round sports lead to rise in youth athlete injuries”
Kathy Walsh, CBS 4 Denver, “Colorado surgeon offers free hip surgery for ‘Operation Walk USA’”

Eddie Gregg, Billings Gazette, “End of pre-existing condition exclusions pivotal in patient’s knee replacement”