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Shepherd Center Receives $25,000 Grant from Mike Utley Foundation

ATLANTA - (Feb. 4, 2009) - Shepherd Center received a $25,000 grant from the Mike Utley Foundation to construct the Mike Utley Terrain Training Course in the Mavis Leslie Pruet Memorial Garden adjacent to Shepherd Center.

The course will enable Shepherd Center’s Therapeutic Recreation, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy departments to educate people with disabilities in the skills necessary to navigate their wheelchairs on various terrains. The course includes hills and curves, curb cuts at various heights, as well as cobblestone, gravel, sand, and grass terrains.

Mike Utley stated the Mike Utley Foundation recognizes the importance of preparing disabled patients for their return to homes and communities following rehabilitation. One of the necessary skills of this rehabilitation process is to learn to navigate a wheelchair on various terrains for increased mobility. Locating the terrain course on the Shepherd Center campus will eliminate the need of transporting patients to areas where these challenges exist. Utley further said that he is honored to be involved with Shepherd Center and their dedication to their patient rehabilitation program.

A former Detroit Lions offensive guard, Utley suffered an injury to his C-6 and C-7 vertebrae during a 1991 game against the Los Angeles Rams. Shortly after, he founded the Mike Utley Foundation, which financially supports research, rehabilitation and education for those living with spinal cord injuries.

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neurological conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.