Rochester Spinal Association names organization’s first Executive Director

Rochester, NY – The Rochester Spinal association today announced that it has selected Chris Hilderbrant to be the first Executive Director in the organization’s nearly 30-year history. 


Founded in 1991, the Rochester Spinal Association (RSA) was created by people with spinal cord disabilities, their family members, and healthcare professionals in order to meet the non-medical needs experienced by people living with spinal cord disabilities.  Throughout its history, RSA has evolved to meet the changing needs of the community.  Always at the core of its mission has been peer-based support to people with spinal cord disabilities, especially those who are recently in need. 


Chris Hilderbrant has been both a recipient and a provider of those peer support services.  In 1990, at 14 years of age, Hilderbrant fractured his 6th cervical vertebra and damaged his spinal cord in a diving accident.  Since that time, Hilderbrant has been an advocate for himself and others with disabilities, working for nearly 15 years at the Center for Disability Rights and several years at Common Ground Health.  In 2016, Hilderbrant established his own consulting business, focusing on proactively assisting businesses to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and in 2013 he co-founded the WNY Wreckers, upstate NY’s only wheelchair rugby team.  He is also on the adjunct faculty at Monroe Community College.


“We are excited to write the next chapter in RSA’s history,” said John Casey, Chairman of the RSA Board.  “We have greatly enhanced our fundraising and the overall professionalism of the organization, now, with Chris, we are ready to reach out and do more for individuals and the community.”


RSA’s recent fundraising successes have enabled the organization to award grants to individuals living with spinal cord disabilities who need assistance with affording home and vehicle modifications, medical equipment, and other items important for improved quality of life.  RSA was awarded a grant through the Craig H. Nielsen Foundation to foster health and wellness activities for people living with spinal cord injury and also for their caregivers. 


“I’m thrilled to take on this role with an organization I have been part of for nearly 30 years,” said Hilderbrant.  “There is a great deal of need in our community and the Rochester Spinal Association is ready to expand to meet that need.”


People in need of support to enhance their quality of life with a spinal cord disability can contact the Rochester Spinal Association at 585-234-3269 or by emailing  For more information regarding RSA, please visit