The playground in Palabra Viva was constructed on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, marking the AAOS Annual Meeting in Las Vegas.


Published 9/1/2015
Alan S. Hilibrand, MD

Support the 2016 AAOS Playground Build

Help build a safe, accessible playground in Orlando

With another AAOS Annual Meeting come plans for another safe and accessible playground build in the host city. The 2016 AAOS Playground Build will take place Tuesday, March 1, in Orlando, Fla.

Since 2000, the Academy’s annual volunteer project—the award-winning Safe and Accessible Playground Build—has provided meeting attendees with the opportunity to promote playground safety, accessibility, and the importance of exercise and physical activity, while giving back to the children and families who live in the host city.

For many Academy members, including myself, the playground build is a highlight of the AAOS Annual Meeting. In Las Vegas earlier this year, I joined hundreds of volunteers—orthopaedic surgeons, allied health care and industry partners, and community members—in moving earth and building materials in Palabra Viva. We wielded screwdrivers, drills, wheelbarrows, paint brushes, and rakes to create a place where children with and without disabilities could play safely.

At the end of the day, when balloons were released at the new Palabra Viva playground to the cheers of parents and children, it was hard not to feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment and pride in the new playground, as well as in the Academy and its mission.

More than volunteers are needed
The build day efforts of AAOS members and other volunteers are only part of the annual playground story. The slides, tubes, ramps, canopies, safe surfaces, landscaping, and other aesthetic and practical features cost money, as do the consultative services of our build partner KaBOOM! The entire project—including a “design day” when local children create and share their ideas for an ideal playground—costs approximately $125,000.

To date, the playground build has been funded through the generosity of corporate sponsors, Academy members, and specialty societies. In recent years, with increasing competition for large corporate grant support, the Academy has had to rely more on multiple smaller donations from members.

In short, each year we hope to build a playground in the Annual Meeting host city, and each year we hope to raise enough money to do so. Please consider supporting this year’s safe, accessible playground build through a financial contribution and/or volunteer service. Donations are an investment in the children of Orlando and the Academy’s mission of providing and promoting optimal musculoskeletal health.

Individuals donating $1,000 or more will receive a lapel pin, as well as recognition during the AAOS Annual Meeting program. Additional recognition opportunities, including dedicated benches and customized signs, are available for those who donate at a higher level. On-site volunteers will receive a “Playground Build” ribbon at the Annual Meeting.

For more information on donating or volunteering at the 2016 Playground Build, visit or contact the AAOS public relations department at 847-384-4036 or

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

2016 Safe & Accessible Playground Build Sponsors
(As of August 17, 2015)

Silver Sponsors ($5,000 – $9,999)
Dr. Alan & Gittel Hilibrand
Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America

Bronze Sponsors ($1,000 – $4,999)
American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
Association of Residency Coordinators in Orthopaedic Surgery
Danna Gracey
Dr. Basil & Amirra Besh
Dr. David & Katie Halsey
Dr. Stephen & Sonny Hurst
Drs. Elizabeth Matzkin and Eric Smith
Foundation for Orthopaedic Trauma
Orchid Orthopedic Solutions
Orthopaedic Nurses Certification Board
Paragon Medical, Inc.