Chauncey’s Gift

By Wesley Chism Jr., BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: February 6, 2011

DENVER (BASN) — Over the years we’ve gotten use to the leadership skills that Chauncey Billups has always displayed on the basketball court.

It now appears now that the five-time NBA All Star of the Denver Nuggets has expanded his game and lending an assist to the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine for a special Vaccines for Teen awareness event.

Vaccines for Teens (vaccinesforteens.net) is a national awareness campaign designed to educate preteens, teens and their parents about the importance of vaccination against serious, potentially life-threatening diseases.

“As a father, nothing is more important to me than my children’s health,” said Billups. “I encourage parents to speak to their child’s health-care provider and get informed about how they can help protect their preteens and teens by getting them vaccinated.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend vaccination against influenza, meningitis and pertussis for preteens and teens, yet only half of teens in Colorado have been vaccinated against meningococcal disease.

As Vaccines for Teens ambassador, Billups is featured in a new national public service announcement which will air on NBA media and network/cable game broadcasts.

This past Thursday, Billups appeared at a special Vaccines for Teens event at Merrill Middle School in Denver. During the event, NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier joined the Nuggets All-Star to discuss the importance of adolescent vaccinations with more than 500 preteens and teens.

Preteens and teens are at risk for meningococcal disease, pertussis (whooping cough), and influenza, which can be spread through common, everyday activities.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other leading medical groups recommend vaccination against these serious diseases, immunization rates among preteens and teens remain low, leaving too many children unprotected.

“Vaccines can help protect the health of our teens, but too often families aren’t aware of the need and importance of vaccinations for adolescents. Parents can ask about vaccination during any health-care visit,” said Larry D’Angelo, MD, MPH, President of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. “We welcome the support and cooperation of the NBA and Sanofi Pasteur in helping move this important health issue forward.”

“Vaccines for Teens is a great complement to our socially responsible initiatives,” says NBA Executive Vice President, Social Responsibility & Player Programs Kathy Behrens.

“This campaign underscores our NBA Cares commitment to programs that support education, youth and family development, and health and wellness.”

Nationally, only half of adolescents 13 to 17 years of age have been vaccinated against meningococcal disease and pertussis also known as whooping cough.

The Vaccines for Teens is a nationwide campaign with upcoming stops in Oklahoma City, Miami, Los Angeles and Dallas.

Please come out and take advantage of this learning opportunity, it could mean the difference from life and death.

NOTE: For additional information online go to www.vaccinesforteens.net.