November 13 , 2007


$1-million award will help people with spinal cord injuries get active

Hamilton, ON -  Researchers at McMaster University have been awarded $1-million -- the largest of its kind-- to investigate how best to increase physical activity among people with spinal cord injuries (SCI), so they can improve their physical and psychological well-being and, ultimately, their quality of life.

Some 50,000 Canadians are living with spinal cord injuries, many of whom believe those injuries are a life sentence of inactivity.  Not true, says Kathleen Martin Ginis, an associate professor in the department of kinesiology, who is heading up the research team.

 “We know physical activity can have huge physical and psychological benefits for people living with spinal cord injuries,” says Martin Ginis.  “However, many people with SCI think it’s inappropriate for them to exercise or play sports and that they won’t reap any benefits from these activities. But there is little doubt physical activity improves health and well-being.”

In fact, says Martin Ginis, physical activity programs and information are two of the services most desired by people with spinal cord injuries, but least available. 

“We have two main goals for this project: to provide people with knowledge and skills to start a physical activity program and to find the most effective way to disseminate this information to the SCI community,” she says.

Named the Community University Research Alliance to Promote Physical Activity in

People Living with SCI (CURA), the five-year project will marry the expertise of university researchers with the front-line experience of community workers, services groups, organizations and consumers.

The funding comes from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).  An additional $1.3-million in supporting funds will come from partnering institutions, including McMaster University and community groups.


McMaster University, a world-renowned, research-intensive university, fosters a culture of innovation, and a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University, one of only four Canadian universities to be listed on the Top 100 universities in the world, has a student population of more than 23,000, and an alumni population of more than 125,000 in 125 countries.