The Arthritis Foundation, the USTA and the Ad Council have launched a new public service campaign featuring Billie Jean King to encourage Americans to play tennis and keep moving in order to fight the effects of arthritis.
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, currently affecting 50 million adults and 300,000 children and is on pace to affect 67 million adults by 2030. Only 16 percent of those who are affected by arthritis claim they can manage the pain, meaning the vast majority of those who suffer from the disease find it physically debilitating.
“Arthritis is a substantial barrier to using physical activity to help manage other chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes,” said Deb Neuman, chief external relations officer of the Arthritis Foundation. “It affects, in fact, half of all adults with diabetes or heart disease.”
“Our new campaigns targets people who are 55 or older and at risk or who have osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis,” she added. “The campaign encourages people to choose a weapon, whether it be tennis, walking, running, biking, swimming, or any form of movement to fight arthritis pain. We want people to know that you can change the trajectory of osteoarthritis and the impact it has on your life.”
The reason why the Arthritis Foundation and the Ad Council partnered with the USTA to help bring awareness to the importance of staying active, even after stricken with arthritis, is because of the longevity of the sport.
“Tennis is a sport that can be played at any age, and the USTA has programs for every one of them," USTA Chairman of the Board and President Jon Vegosen said. "In fact, USTA League is the largest adult recreational tennis program in the world with over 750,000 people. We're honored that the Arthritis Foundation will be using the sport of tennis in its ongoing public service campaign to encourage older Americans to keep moving.”
In the new commercial, which will air on the television broadcasts on ESPN and the Tennis Channel and will be featured prominently on the video boards on the grounds and in the stadiums throughout the US Open, King, who suffers from osteoarthritis herself, plays a match against “Arthritis” and wins.
“Any time, any court, I’m ready,” a spry King says as she hits winners on a court at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. “Let’s go!”
To find out more information about the public service announcement and about arthritis log on to www.usta.com/arthritis.