Minnesota Legislature Steps Up for Spinal Cord Research

July 20, 2017 06:52 PM

After a successful pilot program for funding spinal cord and traumatic brain injury research in 2015, the Minnesota Legislature stepped up with a much bigger pool of money before adjourning the 2017 session. T

The state will now make available another $5 million in grant money for researchers.


"I think this is the most dollars the Minnesota Legislature has ever put forward and Governor Dayton was right on board with it,"Sen. Scott Jensen, R-Chaska, who carried the bill in the Minnesota Senate, said.

After a smaller amount was approved in 2015, researchers from the University of Minnesota, the Minneapolis VA Hospital and the Mayo Clinic were given several $125,000 grants for research.

Jensen, who is also a medical doctor, says the research is slow, but showing remarkable progress.

"If you see some of the research projects, they're literally able to get a person to think a thought and move an extremity...and that's miraculous," Jensen said.

At The Wilds golf club in Prior Lake, Jack Jablonski's "Believe in Miracles Foundation" aimed to raise $130,000 at its annual golf tournament.

"To throw five million dollars at us, it means the world to everyone who's in a wheelchair knowing that they believe paralysis is not permanent," Jablonski said Thursday.

Jablonski was paralyzed in a hockey game in 2011 and has raised more than a half-million dollars for spinal cord research since then.

"The more money we raise now the quicker things move and the faster we can get out of our wheelchairs," Jablonski said.

His event on Thursday sold out with 160 golfers, including a dozen NHL players with Minnesota connections like Mike Reilly and Charlie Coyle of the Minnesota Wild and David Backes of the Boston Bruins.


Tom Hauser

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