October 4, 2021

Assistant Professor Oluwaferanmi Okanlami awarded $200,000 Neilsen Foundation grant to launch Prescription to Play

Prescription to Play (RX to Play) will connect people living with spinal cord injuries in southeast Michigan to local adaptive sports resources and provide ongoing rehabilitation support.

Oluwaferanmi Okanlami, M.D., MS, assistant professor of Family Medicine, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and Urology at the University of Michigan has been awarded a two-year, $200,000 grant from the Neilsen Foundation for his project, Prescription to Play (Rx to Play).

Oluwaferanmi Okanlami, M.S., M.S. Headshot
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Funding will be used to connect individuals living with spinal cord injuries (SCI) in southeast Michigan to local adaptive sports resources. The program also aims to achieve increased awareness of adaptive sports among local healthcare providers and individuals with SCI.

The project will be implemented in partnership with the Michigan Medicine’s SCI Support Group, the Center for Disability Health and Wellness, Michigan Medicine, and many other partners at the University of Michigan and in the broader healthcare network in southeast Michigan.

The Rx to Play project will provide year-round supplemental programming—including the provision of sports equipment, special events, and peer mentor groups—to ensure that people living with SCI in southeast Michigan are supported in their access to and participation in adaptive sports and fitness.

“Physical therapy and fitness are not only acute care needs for individuals living with SCI. The importance of maintaining optimal physical fitness is a lifelong necessity for this population,” Dr. Okanlami said. “Through the Rx to Play initiative, we are focused on connecting people with SCI to health and wellness opportunities from in-patient to out-patient rehabilitation with the end goal of supporting community integration and quality of life.”

Dr. Okanlami added, “By working with healthcare providers and our multiple partners, we aim to connect patients to our resources regardless of where they are along their rehabilitation journey, and who they interact with in our system. Everyone plays a role in making our system better.”

If you are interested in getting involved in Rx to Play – faculty, professor, staff, student or community member – contact Erik Robeznieks, assistant director of the Adaptive Sports & Fitness Program at U-M, at erikrob@med.umich.edu.