17:13 PM

Shepherd Injury Prevention Program Launches Online Effort to Reach More Teens and Young Adults

ATLANTA (August 25, 2009) – Shepherd Center has launched a new, socially dynamic outreach program called YIPES!! (Youth and Injury Prevention Education at Shepherd).  For nearly 20 years, Shepherd Center’s injury prevention message has been delivered by speakers living with disabilities, explaining their unique stories of injury and teaching youth on how to avoid brain and spinal cord trauma.

Shepherd’s adolescent team orthopedic physician, Herndon Murray, M.D., proposed a new approach to reach young people on the perils of diving and other risky behaviors related to water recreation. “I wanted to see a specific focus on preventing diving and skim-boarding injuries in the Southeast,” he says. “What Pete Collman and his team have done has given this injury prevention message a vehicle to reach even more young people than the 13,000 reached through Shepherd Center’s current Think First Program.”

YiPES!! is designed to use social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to get an “edgier” message out to teens and young adults. This addition to the Think First Program will help in the broadening of our audience through the World Wide Web. Activities such as diving, skim boarding, skateboarding, ATV riding and other extreme sports will be highlighted. Also, a special emphasis will be placed upon distracted driving with a preventative approach to educating drivers on the perils of texting and phone usage while behind the wheel.  

Video public service announcements (PSAs) will be created to capture the attention of the adolescent Web surfer. Those will be followed by a message from a current Shepherd Center patient explaining their injury and how to avoid spinal cord and brain trauma. 

 “I feel this is a great effort to get behind and show support for our injury prevention programs here at Shepherd,” Dr. Murray says. “I will be presenting our efforts on Think First and YiPES!! at the International Spinal Cord Society Convention this October in Florence, Italy. I feel this may jump-start other organizations to follow suit in decreasing these catastrophic injuries among our young people.” 

The YiPES!! Facebook page is active and is linked from the Shepherd Center Facebook homepage at

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.