Surgeon group leads campaign against youth sport injuries

ROSEMONT, IL and DALLAS, TX: The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) have teamed up for a public awareness campaign targeting youth sports injuries.

ROSEMONT, IL and DALLAS, TX: The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) have teamed up for a public awareness campaign targeting youth sports injuries.

The year-long campaign begins this month with a VNR, PSA, and advertising campaign that will appear in magazines, newspapers, and at airports with the tagline, "What will they have longer, their trophies or their injuries?"

AAOS's is relying on its six-person PR team, while NATA is using its AOR, Robin Waxenberg & Associates.

One pitch landed a front-page mention in the New York Times on February 23, and AAOS says it has received interest from ime Magazine for Kids. The organizations will be pitching a variety of media outlets, including those geared towards parents, sports, and youth.

Sandy Gordon, AAOS director of public education and media relations, said the launch was timed to coincide with spring and the return of heavy sports activity. One of the campaign's goals is to point out how only playing one sport - or playing for two teams during one season - affects the musculoskeletal system. The campaign hopes to stress that young athletes, with growing bones and muscles, are more susceptible to injury.

"These issues happen to kids because, now more than ever, they are playing a single sport, and that's all they do," Gordon said..

The organizations will also address the topic of steroids, which has dominated the sports media due to alleged use among professional baseball's top stars.

"Any of us - as parents or professionals - are fooling ourselves if we think our children aren't aware of steroids. The sooner you address it, the better," Gordon said.

She added that it fits into the organization's focus.

"It's part of our message because orthopedic surgeons are so against steroids," Gordon said, adding that performance-enhancing drugs increase the risk for osteoporosis, brittle bones, and musculoskeletal problems. "Athletes don't think about [those affects until] it starts to happen to them."

Gordon estimated the base costs of the campaign - production of the ad and VNR - were about $45,000. The VNR will feature Dr. James Andrews, from the AAOS and Larry Starr, a former major league baseball athletic trainer with the Cincinnati Reds and Florida Marlins, who represents NATA.

US Consumer Product Safety Commission found that more than 3.5 million sports-related injuries occurred to children under age 15 in 2003.

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