Home Features Shepherd Center’s ‘Secret Sauce’

Shepherd Center’s ‘Secret Sauce’


By Rita Maloof, ALTA Foundation President 

The ALTA Foundation is proud to announce its sponsorship of the Shepherd Center 2023 Rehabilitation Therapy tennis clinics. As both organizations are icons in Atlanta, the partnership only seems fitting! To understand why this is such a milestone achievement, it cannot be understated why the work at the Shepherd Center is benefitting so many people in so many ways.

The Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, is a private, not-for-profit hospital providing complex rehabilitation for those impacted by spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, multi-trauma, multiple sclerosis, and pain. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as the top rehabilitation hospital in the Southeast and among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. The facility provides world-class clinical care and research, including the most impactful innovations and family support, all delivered with unwavering heart, humor, and hope.

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 800 inpatients, 280 day program patients, and more than 7,600 outpatients each year in more than 56,000 visits.

Patients in Shepherd Center’s rehabilitation programs get more than just medical care: they get an experience that brings healing and hope. Shepherd’s team of highly specialized, experienced clinicians is dedicated to helping patients achieve their highest level of independence possible to return to a meaningful life beyond injury and illness.

Clinicians work with each person to create a blueprint for rehabilitation, tapping into state-of-the-art medical care, therapeutic equipment, and comprehensive educational services. Staff members also serve as ambassadors to help patients navigate their journey over a lifetime.

Recreation therapy is known as the “secret sauce” of Shepherd Center. While various therapies can help teach an individual how to live, help them gain strength, and increase mobility, recreation therapy can help an individual lead a healthy and active lifestyle and thrive. Every patient receives recreation therapy during their time at Shepherd Center. Because insurance does not reimburse these services, recreation therapy is funded by the generosity of donors. One of the programs offered through Shepherd’s recreation therapy program is adaptive wheelchair tennis.

“Recreation therapy allows individuals with disabilities opportunities to participate in recreation and leisure activities to increase their overall health and wellness,” says Megan Collins, a Shepherd Center philanthropy associate. “With our tennis clinics, we want participants to learn about tennis and how it is a great activity to do on their own or with friends and family to stay healthy and active. We have had several participants who were ALTA players before they experienced mobility challenges, and they are using our clinics as a way to get back to a sport that they love.”

This program is offered to any individual with a disability who would like to expand their knowledge base and fine-tune their tennis skills.

“With the grant from ALTA Foundation, we will be able to host our 2023 clinics at various courts in the metro Atlanta area to promote awareness of wheelchair tennis and inclusion,” Collins says. “We plan to have two instructors at each clinic who are wheelchair tennis players and also members of ALTA! Through these clinics, we hope to empower our clients to continue playing tennis outside of the clinic, whether it is hitting the ball around for fun or joining their local tennis league in an adaptive environment.”

As word of the success of these recreation therapy clinics offered by Shepherd Center continues to spread, the “secret sauce” may not be a “secret” much longer!

To learn more about recreation therapy events at Shepherd Center, visit shepherd.org/patient-programs/sports-recreation/events.

The ALTA Foundation continues its focus of building stronger communities. Through your generous donations, the foundation is able to continue its mission to help others and develop worthwhile programs.

• Scan the QR Code
• Go to altatennis.org and mark your donation when you renew your ALTA membership
• Mail a check to the ALTA office
• Contact ALTA Foundation President Rita Maloof at foundationpresident@altatennis.org or 770.399.5788, ext. 126.

Previous articleExpanding Our Horizons in 2023
Next articleALTA Boundary Expansion is Underway