From left: NBC Nightly News producer Stacey Naggiar, Zion Harvey, Dr. Levin, and Zion's mother, Pattie Ray.
Courtesy of Robert Knudsen Photography

AAOS Now

Published 6/1/2016
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Alan S. Hilibrand, MD

Excellence in Orthopaedic Reporting Honored

One of my favorite Academy events is the Media Orthopaedic Reporting Excellence (MORE) Awards, held during the annual National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC) in Washington D.C.

The MORE Awards honor writers and producers who accurately report on musculoskeletal breakthroughs, treatments, common conditions, safety concerns, and injury prevention efforts. These journalists are our most important partners in sharing vital and accurate bone and joint information with our patients and the general public.

This year, there were 25 MORE Award winners in the newspaper, magazine, Internet, and broadcast media categories; 12 of the winners were honored at the dinner and awards ceremony on May 5. They included writers from Time Magazine and the Chicago Tribune and producers from ESPN and NBC Nightly News.

Recognizing heroes big and small
We were also privileged to have several special guests with us, featured in two of the award-winning television segments. I won't soon forget the courage and sacrifice of these individuals. First, we met 9-year-old Zion Harvey and his mother Pattie Ray. Zion is the first child in the world to receive a double hand transplant. His surgery was performed under the direction of lead surgeon L. Scott Levin, MD, Paul M. Magnuson Professor and Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania, and the director of both the Penn and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia hand transplant programs [see "Giving Zion Two Hands," AAOS Now, October 2015].

Zion lost his hands and legs to an infection when he was just 2 years old. His story and indelible spirit were featured on an NBC Nightly News segment produced by 2016 MORE Award winner Stacey Naggiar. After Ms. Naggiar accepted her MORE award, Dr. Levin thanked her "for the wonderful reporting and the factual reporting that showed the world what we can do as orthopaedic surgeons."

Dr. Levin also lauded "the bravery of Pattie Ray, the courage of Zion Harvey, and let's not forget the courage of the family who donated the hands so that we could make history as a team."

Ms. Ray thanked Dr. Levin and the team of 40 hand surgeons and other healthcare professionals who aided in the surgery and rehabilitation of Zion's hands. "You all have made this journey so much easier," she said. "You have changed our lives in a way that you could never understand. My son can throw a football. He couldn't do that before…My son was always happy, but I see a light in him now that I haven't seen in a long time."

After his mother spoke, Zion, holding a microphone with his "new" hands, told the more than 350 orthopaedic surgeons at the event, "My hands that I have now are going to help me accomplish goals in my life that I thought without hands I couldn't do." He said he felt frustrated when his iPad would tell him to put his thumbs on the device, "because I didn't have any thumbs."

Looking at Dr. Levin, Zion said: "Thanks to this amazing guy, I can now do that."

From left: NBC Nightly News producer Stacey Naggiar, Zion Harvey, Dr. Levin, and Zion's mother, Pattie Ray.
Courtesy of Robert Knudsen Photography
Dr. Krissoff and AAOS President Gerald R. Williams Jr, MD.
Courtesy of Robert Knudsen Photography

The evening culminated with an HBO segment that aired on Veteran's Day as part of the "Concert for Valor: Saluting Our Veterans." The segment, narrated by director Steven Spielberg, shared the story of William B. Krissoff, MD, who enlisted in the Navy Medical Corps after the death of his son, Nate, a Marine serving in Fallujah, Iraq.

David Rivera, a producer for Herzog and Company, received a "Special Recognition" MORE Award for his work on the powerful segment. After Mr. Rivera accepted the award, Dr. Krissoff, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, commended him on his efforts. Since airing on HBO, the video has received nearly 2.5 million views on YouTube. Dr. Krissoff said the continued interest in the segment reflects the tremendous impact and meaning the story has for the men and women serving in the U.S. armed forces, as well as their families.

Please help us continue the MORE Awards tradition. I urge Academy members to keep an eye out throughout the year for stories and articles on orthopaedics for possible MORE Award nomination. The 2017 MORE Award nomination process is open from June 2016 through October 2016. For more information, visit newsroom.aaos.org/awards_submission or contact the AAOS public relations department at media@aaos.org

Alan S. Hilibrand, MD, chairs the AAOS Communications Cabinet.

The 2016 MORE Award winners by category
Magazine

  • Sean Gregory, TIME, "Let Them Play"
  • Linda Melone, Family Circle, "Repeat Offenders: Six ways old injuries can impact your health now"
  • Aviva Patz, Prevention Magazine, "9 things no one ever tells you about getting a knee replacement"
  • Karen Smith-Janssen, Prevention Magazine, "Your 5-step cure for bad ankles"

Newspaper

  • John Carpenter, Chicago Tribune, "Northwestern study uses technology to target baseball elbow injuries"
  • Whitney Evans, The Deseret News, "Looming surgery brings inspiration"
  • Markian Hawryluk, Houston Chronicle, "Leg up for elite dancers might lead to later problems"
  • Chris Lamb, Indianapolis Star, "Epidemic of injuries hits young athletes"
  • Victor R. Martinez, El Paso Times, "Back on track: Rare surgery helps 4-year-old El Pasoan"
  • Bill McLean, Daily North Shore/The North Shore Weekend, "North Shore Doctors Leave Global Footprints"
  • Angela Nicholas, The Sun News, "Total hip-replacement surgeries booming with aging population"
  • Cassandra Spratling, Detroit Free Press, "More recreational athletes means more joint and orthopedic injuries"

Internet

  • Lindsey Barton Straus, MomsTeam.com, "Counting pitches can save young players' arms but not always used"
  • Colleen Cappon, FOXNews.com, "Knee replacements bringing more soldiers back to active duty"
  • Linda Carroll, NBCNews.com, "Boy, 8, gets double hand transplant in surgical first"
  • Lisa Esposito, U.S. News and World Report, "When Your Diagnosis Is Osteoporosis"
  • Alexandria Hein, FOXNews.com, "How rotator cuff injury may have affected Pacquiao fight"
  • Alexandra Dean, Upworthy.com, "A mom wrote a letter to the NYC Ballet about her daughter's disability"
  • Maggie Fox, NBCNews.com, "What really solves knee pain? The answer might surprise you"
  • Agnes Pawlowski, Today Health, "Doctors transform the hands of boy born without thumbs"
  • Dr. Maria Simbra, CBS Pittsburgh, "Younger patients opting for double knee replacements"
  • Steve Sullivan, KATV-Little Rock, "Russellville softball star finally has reason to smile"

Television

  • Serene Branson, CBS Los Angeles, "Radical surgery helps man survive rare injury after woman jumping to her death lands on him"
  • Ben Houser, ESPN, E:60 Profile: "Matt Harvey: The Dark Knight Rises"
  • Stacey Naggiar, NBC News, "Courageous Boy Receives World's First Double Hand Transplant"

Special Recognition

  • David Rivera, Herzog and Company, "The Concert for Valor: Saluting America's Veterans"