Improving the quality of life with educational and recreational opportunities for individuals with spinal cord injuries.

Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation

United Spinal Association of Northeast Ohio > BLOG > Connections Newsletter Article > Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation

by Kim Anderson, PhD

Do you need help related to your spinal cord injury?  The Ryan Shazier Fund may be a resource for you.  Ryan Shazier, a former Pittsburgh Steelers football player, had a spinal injury during a game in 2017.  With quick access to care, much rehabilitation, and persevering over many obstacles, he was fortunate to experience significant recovery and decided to pay it forward by starting a foundation.  The Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation has the mission to “give those with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) and their caregivers the support, resources and funding they need to live independent and meaningful lives.”  Individuals that live in eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and northern West Virginia may be eligible for various programs highlighted below.

Golden Window Program

The Golden Window Program is the primary financial support program.  The “golden window” is in reference to the first 24 months after a spinal injury.  The goal is to provide some funding for rehabilitation-type services during those first two years when all other sources of funding have run out.  Services that can be requested include physical rehabilitation, durable medical equipment, home adaptation, vehicular adaptation, and mental health support.  Individuals with SCI that live in eligible counties can request up to $15,000 in services.  More information about the program, eligibility, and how to apply can be found here 

Ryan Time

Help can come in many forms, not just financial.  Mental support and inspiration can have a significant impact on recovery.  Ryan Time is a program that offers individuals living with SCI the opportunity to have a one-on-one private conversation with Ryan.  These personal conversations are an opportunity to share experiences living with SCI, seek advice on overcoming obstacles, and receive support from someone that’s been there.  Ryan Times can occur virtually, in person, or at special events hosted by the Fund.  More information about the program, and how to apply can be found here 

Caregivers Portal

SCI happens to more than just the individual, the whole family is impacted.  In many cases a family member ends up taking on a role of being a caregiver.  Caregivers experience challenges too and often times there is no training provided and no resources to turn to.  The Caregivers Portal serves as a resource for caregivers and is led by Michelle Shazier, Ryan’s wife.  Caregivers can share peer-to-peer experiences in a welcoming, caring community environment, both online and in person at various social events.  More information can be found at   

Woodlands Retreats

Periodically throughout the year the Ryan Shazier Fund will host immersive retreats in partnership with the Woodlands Foundation.  These retreats are at a fully accessible campground outside of Pittsburgh.  Through these retreats people with SCI and their families are provided the opportunity to try various recreational activities, work with counselors, and make connections with other peers and families.  Caregivers also have opportunities to network and connect with other caregivers.  For more information on these retreats and other events, go to 

Additional contact information for the Ryan Shazier Fund includes:

Phone:  412-356-2057 





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