One of the region’s most popular and notable stroke survivors is investing in the Sanders Impact Practice Center with the hope of creating the future model of stroke rehabilitation.

Tedy’s Team, run by former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi and his wife Heidi, has gifted $1,000,000 to create the Tedy’s Team Center of Excellence in Stroke Recovery at MGH Institute of Health Professions. 

The new Center of Excellence will leverage the Institute’s existing centers: the Marjorie K. Ionta Physical Therapy Center, the Aphasia Center, and the Tabor/Connor Occupational Therapy Center. Experts from each of these centers will collaborate on addressing the complex and highly specialized issues facing stroke survivors and their families. In addition, the Center will provide the focus for creating synergy between various cutting-edge stroke research that is already occurring at the IHP.  One of the hallmarks of this Center is providing community education on the early warning signs and treatment of stroke. 

“This significant investment will allow us to build a stronger voice for stroke survivors through research and scholarship while also providing a greater opportunity to strengthen the collaboration among these three Centers,” said MGH Institute President Paula Milone-Nuzzo. “The investment is also a powerful vote of confidence for all the incredible work being done at the IHP to help stroke survivors recover.” 

Bruschi suffered a stroke in 2005 at the age of 31. In his recovery, he received care from Massachusetts General Hospital and underwent rehabilitation at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. IHP Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Anne McCarthy Jacobson was Bruschi’s physical therapist during his post-stroke time at Spaulding. He eventually returned for four more seasons of professional football. Following his retirement in 2009, Bruschi and wife Heidi started Tedy’s Team, a non-profit organization that raises awareness for stroke and heart disease, and gives survivors a second chance at life, like the one Bruschi received when he returned to the NFL. 

“We can’t wait to get started and see where this partnership takes the field of stroke recovery,” said Tedy Bruschi, now an ESPN NFL analyst and senior advisor to the Arizona Wildcats' football team, where he was a two-time All-American. 

Tedy’s Team Executive Director Elizabeth Tirrell took a tour of the IPC last spring and was so impressed after seeing the work being done for stroke clients in the PT, OT, and Aphasia centers. 

“We love a Comeback here at Tedy’s Team,” said Heidi Bruschi. “Creating the future model of stroke rehabilitation is one of those goals we want to help achieve.” 

Creating that future model of stroke rehabilitation aligns with a signature feature of the new Center for Excellence: fast-tracking evidence-based research into the care of stroke survivors. All too often, clinical research can be slow, taking up to 15 years to reach the bedside and improve patient care. The focus of the science in the Center will be to develop and test innovative models of stroke rehabilitation, then quickly disseminating new clinical strategies. 

The Tedy’s Team Center will also create partnerships between members within the Institute community and those outside it, advance legislation and policy, and develop new education models for training students. 

“To have our experts work with such an esteemed foundation as Tedy’s Team is an opportunity like none other,” said Milone-Nuzzo. “And stroke clients will be the beneficiaries of our synergistic energies.”

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