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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 provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.