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Top 10 Shepherd Center Stories of 2015

From spinal cord injury research to a robotic device to assist walking to a college student returning to school, 2015 was filled with stories of hope restored.

Readers of Shepherd Center's news, features and blogs in 2015 learned of new spinal cord and brain injury research, incredible feats to raise money for the hospital, students returning to school after rehabilitation, how to prevent injuries and choose a rehabilitation facility, and new partnerships to enhance patient care.

For a recap in case you missed it, here are our top 10 newsroom stories of the year.

1. High School Student with Paraplegia to Use Indego® Exoskeleton to Walk Across Stage to Accept Diploma

In May, 18-year-old Will Hutchins, who has paraplegia, walked into a football stadium in Heard County, Ga., with 124 classmates for his high school graduation. He was able to do so with assistance from a new robotic exoskeleton called Indego, which is expected to gain FDA approval in 2016.

2. Arkansas State University Student Returns to School One Year After Freak Accident

Natalie Eaton was only two days into her freshman year in 2014 at Arkansas State University when a freak accident changed her life. She didn’t know then how much she would learn – and in some cases relearn – in the 12 months to come.

3. Group Planning Run from NYC to Atlanta to Raise Funds for SHARE Military Initiative

In eight days in April 2015, 13 men – calling themselves Shepherd’s Men – ran 911 miles from the Ground Zero fountains by the Freedom Tower in New York City to Shepherd Center in Atlanta. They raised more than $200,000 for Shepherd Center's SHARE Military Initiative, which provides comprehensive rehabilitation at no cost to military service personnel who have sustained a mild to moderate brain injury and/or PTSD in combat in post-9/11 conflicts.

4. Here's How to Choose a Brain or Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Facility

Shepherd Center's medical director advises healthcare consumers on questions to ask when narrowing your list of options for rehabilitation. In this 10-minute podcast, Donald P. Leslie, M.D., explains the distinct differences between a specialized rehabilitation hospital like Shepherd Center and a general rehabilitation facility.

5. New Video Explains Doorway Etiquette When Encountering a Wheelchair User

In the first of a series of etiquette videos, Shepherd Center explains the right way to assist, if needed, when you encounter a wheelchair user at a doorway or elevator entrance. If you don't know how to, or whether to, help someone who uses a wheelchair, just ask them.

6. Kindred Healthcare Announces Affiliation with Craig Hospital and Shepherd Center

Three organizations pledge to collaboratively strengthen and enhance comprehensive, integrated specialized rehabilitative care across the health continuum.

7. Shepherd Center Physician Explains How to Prevent Diving Injuries

In a 10-minute podcast, Herndon Murray, M.D., advises people to avoid diving to prevent devastating spinal cord injury. Diving is simply not worth the risk, Dr. Murray says. The only safe dive is the one you don't take.

8. Shepherd Center Treats First Patient in Clinical Trial of Investigational Product in Newly Injured People with Spinal Cord Injury

Shepherd Center treated the first patient in a Phase 1/2a clinical trial evaluating escalating doses of an investigational product called AST-OPC1 (oligodendrocyte progenitor cells) in newly injured patients with sensory and motor complete cervical spinal cord injury (SCI). Shepherd was the first of up to eight facilities throughout the United States participating in the clinical trial sponsored by Asterias Biotherapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company focused on regenerative medicine.

9. New Video Explains Why Shepherd Center is a Place Where Hope is Restored

Shepherd Center co-founder Alana Shepherd says, "Shepherd Center is a place where hope begins again." Many patients and families who have experienced spinal cord or brain injury rehabilitation at Shepherd Center have indeed found their hope restored. They have discovered life beyond their injury or illness. This new video from Shepherd Center captures that hope.

10. Shepherd Center Physicians Among First in Nation to Receive Board Certification in Brain Injury Medicine

As part of a new certification program from the American Board of Medical Specialties, two Shepherd Center  physicians, Ford Vox, M.D., and Andrew Dennison, M.D., are among the first doctors to be certified in brain injury medicine in the United States.

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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.