The Miami Project Offers Hope for Paralyzed Patients

Marc Buoniconti shares the story of his devastating injury and his dedication to finding a cure for spinal cord injuries.

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Read about The Miami Project’s cutting-edge research and rehabilitative care.

On October 26, 1985, I was paralyzed while making a tackle in a college football game in Johnson City, Tennessee, USA. At that moment, I joined millions of spinal cord injured people around the world.

Within days of my injury, I was transferred to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, under the care of world-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Barth A. Green. It was there that my father, Hall of Fame Miami Dolphins linebacker Nick Buoniconti, made a promise at my bedside that he would do everything in his power to help me.

I spent over six months learning to breathe again. Over that time, I was able to wean off the respirator, transfer to the rehabilitation center, and eventually move back home.

My father, Dr. Green and I, decided to create The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis – a center of excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine dedicated to finding more effective treatments for spinal cord injury, and ultimately a cure for paralysis.


Miami Project Co-Founder Dr. Barth Green with Marc and Miami Project Scientific Director Dr. Richard Bunge in 1989

A Premier Research Program

The Miami Project now conducts cutting-edge discovery, translational, and clinical investigations targeting traumatic spinal cord and brain injury, and other neurological disorders. The Miami Project’s international team of over 175 scientists, researchers, clinicians, and support staff members is dedicated to improving the quality of life of all paralyzed people, and to finding a cure for paralysis.

The Miami Project is currently conducting spinal cord injury clinical studies and trials, including:

  • tests of neuroprotective strategies
  • cellular therapies using Schwann cell and stem cell transplantation
  • advanced rehabilitation and neuromodulation approaches (e.g., the use of brain machine interface technologies)

Other areas of current research include drug discovery for axonal regeneration and immune modulation, neuropathic pain, male fertility, and cardiovascular disorders.

A New Era of Rehabilitative Care

In 2021, the Miami Project opened the Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center, a state-of-the art facility dedicated to providing the best possible outcomes to patients. The stunning 250,000-square-foot, nine-story structure on the Jackson Memorial Medical Campus houses 80 inpatient beds and features world-class amenities and next-generation rehabilitative technology.

Designed to be one of the country’s elite facilities for patients recovering from spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, cancer treatment, and other complex conditions, every aspect of the Lynn Rehabilitation Center focuses on comprehensive care. The building’s layout ensures that clinical care and research share space, so that patients and families can see the scientists who are developing treatments. Researchers interact with real people who need the results of their work—a constant reminder of the way the center integrates academic study with day-to-day patient treatment.

Marc working out at the Lynn Rehabilitation Center

A Strong Partnership with Hollister Incorporated

Since 2000 I've had the pleasure of being a member of the Hollister Team, and we’ve established a variety of programs to help individuals with spinal cord injury. I have represented Hollister through nation-wide tours of the leading rehabilitation centers. Hollister and I have also collaborated on multiple research and development projects, and created focus groups in order to get unique perspectives on Hollister products. In addition, I have been a keynote speaker at multiple Hollister events and have participated in the company’s national sales meetings.

Hollister has been a tremendous supporter of The Miami Project and has sponsored many of our events, including The Buoniconti Fund National Chapters Summit and the Great Sports Legends Dinner. It's been an honor to have worked with the Hollister team over the past 20 years. I’m proud to be associated with Hollister and its mission to make life more rewarding and dignified for the people who use its products and services.

Marc Buoniconti, paralyzed from a football injury at age 19, is president of The Miami Project, undertaking a vigorous campaign to let the world know that paralysis does not have to be forever. Marc has served on several local, state, and federal committees, given hundreds of interviews, spoken at countless public appearances, and inspired millions with his courage.

Want to learn more about how Marc Buoniconti and The Miami Project are working to help patients recover from spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries? Visit The Miami Project website and social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube).