More than 250,000 Americans have suffered from spinal cord injuries. There are approximately 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injury each year. Most injuries occur between the ages of 17 and 30. The average age of spinal cord injuries has increased over time to 40.2 years today. More than 80% of spinal cord injury cases involve males.
Spinal cord injuries occur from a variety of sources with the most common being car accidents and falls.
When a person injures their spinal cord, the results can be catastrophic. Depending on the nature of the injury, the effects may range from a loss of sensation to paralysis.
Spinal cord injuries occur in a variety of situations:
- Work accidents involving falls from ladders or scaffold. These often happen on construction sites. These injuries can cause workers to lose wages or possible prevent them from ever working again.
- Diving accidents. Water can deceive the naked eye, and warnings must be posted to prevent these types of accidents, which can cause catastrophic damage to the spine and brain if someone’s head or back strikes the bottom of a pool or rocks in a lake or riverbed.
- Electrocution where the electrical shock disrupts or damages nerves tracts. These are another possibility for construction or utility workers who have inadequate equipment or have stumbled into areas that should have been marked off for their protection.
Bullet or knife wounds that sever or damage the spinal cord. In 2015, the Las Vegas Sun reported the existence of around 300 street gangs in Southern Nevada. Some spinal cord victims are gang members, but others are casualties of violence between these groups. Many of these cases, however, are the result of reckless discharge of firearms or wielding of knives by those not affiliated with gangs.