10:07pm Thursday 28 May 2020

Designed by Kids, Built by Volunteers: Dream Playground Becomes Safe, Accessible Playground Reality for San Francisco Community

Since 2000, the Academy has sponsored a one-day volunteer build to kick-off its Annual Meeting, leaving behind a legacy of safe and accessible playgrounds to the Annual Meeting’s host city so that children with and without disabilities can safely play together.

Each year, more than 200,000 children in the U.S. are injured on playgrounds—the most common injury is from falling off monkey bars—where they will require medical attention. A safe, accessible playground with rubberized surfacing helps minimize these fall-related injuries.

Children and parents from the surrounding neighborhoods of Tel-Hi designed the playground of their dreams. The new playground at Tel-Hi will have a 2,625 square-foot area featuring a safety sign in Braille, playground components for children between the ages of 2 to 12 and of different abilities, and rubber surfacing. The site will also include wheelchair ramps, several activity panels and more. Volunteers from AAOS, the local community and national non-profit organization KaBOOM! will come together build the playground in less than eight hours.

“Tel-Hi is an important part of the local community that enriches the lives of the many families and children through our programs and services. Our work reaches not only families-in-need, but children and the community-at-large,” says Nestor L. Fernandez II, executive director of Tel-Hi. “This new playground is going to be a place where families can gather and catch up with their neighbors and children can play. It will also help us make sure that we promote a healthier way of life in our community.”

“The children of the Telegraph Hill community will be able to enjoy this playground for years,” said Daniel J. Solomon, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and a spokesperson for the AAOS. “Building a safe, accessible playground allows us, the Academy, to give back to the community so that children of all abilities can play and interact with each other on a safe play space. It also gives us the chance to help prevent—not just treat—the injuries,” added Dr. Solomon.

Orthopaedic surgeons are the physicians who treat many people with physical disabilities. They see first-hand the fractures, dislocations and other results of playground injuries and falls. The Safe, Accessible Playground Build is an opportunity for orthopaedic surgeons to give back to the Academy’s Annual Meeting’s host city. This new playground offers children exercise opportunities for balance, flexibility, and strength to build strong bones.

For more information about the Safe, Accessible Playground, visit www.aaos.org/playground.



An orthopaedic surgeon is a medical doctor with extensive training in the diagnosis and non-surgical as well as surgical treatment of the musculoskeletal system, including bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves.

With more than 36,000 members, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (www.aaos.org) is the premier not-for-profit organization that provides education programs for orthopaedic surgeons and allied health professionals, champions the interests of patients and advances the highest quality musculoskeletal health. Orthopaedic surgeons and the Academy are the authoritative sources of information for patients and the general public on musculoskeletal conditions, treatments and related issues. An advocate for improved patient care, the Academy is participating in the Bone and Joint Initiative (www.usbjd.org) – the global initiative in the years 2002-2011 – to raise awareness of musculoskeletal health, stimulate research and improve people’s quality of life.

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Founded in 1890, Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center (Tel-Hi) builds community strength for the neighborhoods of northeast San Francisco in three ways: provides services for 600 people each day to increase their well-being; brings the neighborhood together through celebrations and civic pursuits; and increases its impact through long-term partnerships and collaborations.


KaBOOM! is the national non-profit dedicated to saving play. Children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation, a fact that is having disastrous consequences on their health, achievement levels, and overall well-being. To fight this Play Deficit, social entrepreneur Darell Hammond founded non-profit KaBOOM! in 1996 in Washington, D.C. with a vision of creating a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since then, KaBOOM! has mapped over 89,000 places to play, built more than 2,000 playgrounds, and successfully advocated for play policies in hundreds of cities across the country. KaBOOM! also provides communities with online tools to self-organize and take action to support play on both a local and national level. Hammond chronicles the founding of the organization and the importance of the cause of play in his The New York Times Best Seller KaBOOM!: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play. The book details how businesses and communities can work together to save play for children across the country. All author proceeds support KaBOOM!. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.

More information about the AAOS

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