AAOS Playground Build 2016

By Michael Barbella, Managing Editor | March 4, 2016

Orthopedic surgeons create a safe, accessible playground for a Kissimmee, Fla., neighborhood.

New playground for Kissimmee

More than 200 volunteers from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the City of Kissimmee, Fla., and Central Avenue Elementary School teamed up with organizers from KaBOOM! and Kissimmee residents on March 1 to build a new community playground at the school.

Built in a day

As part of the construction, volunteers assembled the playground from start to finish in less than six hours. They mixed and poured thousands of pounds of concrete and moved enough safety surfacing to cover more than nine NBA-sized basketball courts.

Leaving a legacy

The playground in Kissimmee is the 17th built by AAOS and KaBOOM! The event enables orthopedic surgeons to give back to society by improving the safety of children's active play at school and in the community.

A national trail of safe playgrounds

The AAOS has sponsored a one-day volunteer build since 2000 to kick off its annual meeting. Over the last 16 years, the Academy has built safe, accessible playgrounds in neighborhoods in Las Vegas, Nev.; San Diego, Calif.; New Orleans, La.; Chicago, Ill.; and San Francisco, Calif. The Kissimmee playground is the second constructed in the Orlando, Fla., area.

Designed by kids, for kids

The playground was designed in December (2015) by Central Avenue Elementary School children. It features a Trippple Racer Slide, Ribbon Climber, and Babble-On.

Why they build

Building these playgrounds can help improve kids' health. Each year, more than 210,000 U.S. children sustain a playground injury that requires medical attention. A safe, accessible playground with ramps, guardrails and uniform surfacing can help minimize fall-related injuries, the AAOS contends.

Building more than muscle

Playgrounds are more than a leisure time activity. Active play can help expand the mind, build muscle and foster friendships. Play is central to a child’s ability to grow into a productive adult, the AAOS notes.