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March 01, 2016

Orthopaedic surgeons address the risks of distracted walking in 2016 public service announcement

2016 PSA campaign also promotes ladder, bicycle safety and support for spine-related impairment research

Orlando, Fla.—The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) today unveiled its 2016 public service announcement (PSA) campaign which will be distributed to more than 8,000 media outlets across the country. This year’s multimedia program—television, radio and print PSAs—warns Americans on how to prevent serious injuries, and promotes:
  • The dangers of distracted walking;
  • The importance of safe, proper ladder use;  
  • The significance of bicycle-riders and drivers sharing the road; and
  • Support for spine-related impairment research.
“The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons champions the interests of patients by promoting and advancing optimal musculoskeletal health, injury prevention, and the highest quality patient treatment and care,” said AAOS President Jerry Williams, MD. “This year’s PSAs highlight four important safety topics aimed at elevating public awareness—from sprains, tears and fractures to getting the proper treatment for spine-related impairment.”
“We are a multi-tasking society but that behavior can impair our ability to get from point A to point B safely,” said Dr. Williams. “Texting, music playing, and technology-distracted pedestrians also are posing a significant public risk to themselves and to others,” added Dr. Williams. “This year’s TV ad uses humorous video to highlight the serious dangers of distracted pedestrians. In addition, our print and radio advertisements promote research for spine-related impairment for veterans, bicycle safety and the potential dangers of falling from a ladder—serious health issues that injure tens of thousands of Americans each year.”
Digital Deadwalkers” television PSA
“This is the city where danger lurks,” says the announcer in the “Digital Deadwalker” television PSA, as people jump out of the way, ladders get backed over, and drivers slam on their brakes.
After much destruction, the source of the chaos is finally revealed: a distracted walker focusing on his phone, instead of the people, cars and obstructions around him. When he nearly collides with an older couple, the woman stops him and says: “Dude. Engage!”  The PSA directs viewers to  for more information and safety tips.

“The Academy is committed to increasing the public’s awareness of bone and joint health conditions,” said Alan Hilibrand, MD, AAOS Communications Cabinet Chair. “The theme of these ads is simple, although orthopaedic surgeons treat bone and joint injuries, we also try to prevent these injuries by raising public awareness of dangerous activities that put people at risk for musculoskeletal injury. Our PSA campaign provides us an opportunity to promote timely and relevant musculoskeletal messages to past, present and future patients with the goal to educate and inform the general public about the value of orthopaedic care.”
AAOS 2016 PSA campaign details
“Hold the Ladder” 30- and 60-second radio PSAs encourage safe ladder use
“There’s something very dangerous in your home,” says the announcer. “It could be hiding in a closet, or waiting in the basement. It’s not sharp, or toxic, or flammable…yet it happens to send more people to the trauma center than any other household item.”
The announcer goes on, “Using a ladder might seem easy. Misusing one is even easier. Ask any of the 150,000 people who fell off their ladders into the trauma center last year alone. Don’t let a do-it yourself project…do yourself in.” The PSA directs listeners to for more information and safety tips. Print PSAs
Riders aren’t always in the right. But they are always fragile.
Bike riding as a form of transportation is on the rise which means more opportunity for bike-related injuries. According to a 2015 study in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) the number of cyclists ages 45 and older seeking treatment for bicycle-related injuries rose 81 percent and the number of hospital admissions among the same group was up 66 percent between 1998 and 2013. So, even when a rider does something boneheaded, remember –your broken headlight is easier to fix than their broken bones. Take the high road and give bicyclists the space they need to ride safely. Check out our website for more road sharing tips.
Presented in partnership with the Orthopaedic Trauma Association.
It’s time to evolve our methods for supporting spine-injured veterans.
Spine impairment is a leading cause of disability for veterans –and it’s on the rise. Studies have demonstrated long-term disability in military personnel with musculoskeletal conditions, but fortunately, early intervention can help prevent long-term spine-related disability. Support research to help treat and defeat these injuries in veterans. The spine care a veteran receives plays a difference in how quickly they are able to get back to work, to play and to a life they love.
Presented in partnership with the North American Spine Foundation.
Ladder safety should not be learned on the fly.
Climbing on a ladder might be the most dangerous thing you do all year. You can step off of the ladder the wrong way, slip off a step or just not take the proper ladder safety precautions because you are in a hurry. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 500,000 ladder-related injuries required medical treatment in 2014. Most injuries are cuts, bruises or even fractured bones, especially broken bones in the foot and ankle. Make sure you have the balance and strength to use a ladder. Take the time to secure it properly. Don’t stand above the marked level and always wear lace-up shoes or boots. Check our website for more safety tips.
Presented in partnership with the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
With more than 39,000 members, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) is the world’s largest association of musculoskeletal specialists. The AAOS provides education programs for orthopaedic surgeons and allied health professionals, champions and advances the highest musculoskeletal care for patients, and is the authoritative source of information on bone and joint conditions, treatments, and related issues.
Visit AAOS at: for bone and joint health news, stats, facts, images and interview requests. for inspirational patient stories, and orthopaedic surgeon tips on maintaining bone and joint health, avoiding injuries, treating musculoskeletal conditions and navigating recovery. for patient information on hundreds of orthopaedic diseases and conditions.
Kayee Ip
phone: 847-384-4035
Lauren Pearson Riley
phone: 847-384-4031
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