In a celebration of Atlanta Thrashers hockey player Dan Snyder's life, the Snyder family, the family of teammate Dany Heatley, and the Atlanta Thrashers are remembering the young player with the dedication of the Dan Snyder Neurotrauma Fund at Emory University. The fund was created in late 2004 and will support research and education in the Department of Neurosurgery at Emory.
Neurosurgical care at Grady Memorial Hospital is provided by Emory neurosurgeons. Grady is metro Atlanta's only Level 1 Trauma Center, and the hospital where Snyder was treated following a September 29, 2003 car accident, which took his life.
The fund will be used for research, training and teaching Emory neurosurgery residents who rotate through Grady yearly, caring for patients with head trauma.
"In order to maintain Grady's trauma service, neurosurgeons must be on-board to care for patients with brain and spinal cord injuries," says Daniel Barrow, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, Emory University School of Medicine. "This fund will help with clinical aspects of care, teaching the next generation of doctors and advancing our specialty through research. Philanthropy is extremely important to academic medical centers to support the many specialties required to provide the most advanced treatment to critically-ill and injured patients."
The fund is made up of memorial gifts from the public following Snyder's death, personal contributions from both the Snyder and Heatley families, and an annual team pledge of $15,000 from the Atlanta Thrashers Foundation. The Thrashers' yearly pledge will be given on behalf of the player who receives the Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy, a player who best embodies perseverance, dedication and hard work. In total, the fund holds $150,000 in gifts and pledges, thus far. The goal is to see the fund continue to grow with outside support.
"Dan was an important part of the Thrashers family and a perfect example of what a hockey player should personify, both on and off the ice," says Thrashers Executive Vice President and General Manager Don Waddell. "People were drawn to his passion for life and hockey, and through this fund, we will continue to honor him and the contributions he made to our community."
Sanjay Gupta, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Emory, and his team, were on-call at Grady the night of Dan Snyder's car accident.
"The Snyders are really incredibly strong and gracious people," says Dr. Gupta. "They managed to help create something good out of a tragic situation. This fund will focus on teaching future doctors how to better care for patients like Dan, while advancing the understanding of head injuries in the field of neurosurgery. In many ways, the Snyders are role models, just like their son. And they will never be forgotten by those of us who took care of them at Grady."
"The Dan Snyder Neurotrauma Fund allows for a tragic situation to provide hope to others in the future, while advancing our academic and educational missions," says Dr. Barrow. "It also allows the memory of Dan Snyder to live on in perpetuity by benefiting others."
Contributions can be sent directly to: The Dan Snyder Neurotrauma Fund, Emory University, 1440 Clifton Road, Suite 112, Atlanta, GA, 30322. Or you can contact Jason Chandler, Director of Development for the Department of Medicine at Emory, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 404-727-1595.