Facts And Figures About Spinal Cord Injuries

One of the most common and debilitating injuries from a car accident or a slip and fall is a spinal cord injury (SCI.) For many who suffer this injury, it’s life-changing and presents a series of life-long challenges. Groups like The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation are working to make life better for those living with SCI, and for successful cures in the future.

Facts And Figures About Spinal Cord Injuries

To get an idea of how many people in the US actually have spinal cord injuries and are living with it, we’ve gathered some current facts.

Causes Of SCI

Almost anyone can experience a spinal cord injury for a wide range of causes. Damage occurs by a traumatic blow to the spinal column that causes damage to a vertebra, or something that bypasses the bone and does direct damage to the spinal cord.The most common causes are:

  • Accidents in cars and other motor vehicles
  • Falls
  • Acts of violence (i.e., assaults with a knife, gunshot wounds)
  • Sports, such as football
  • Diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis, cancer and inflammation of the spinal cord
  • Physical labor

The Mayo Clinic also reports that alcohol use is involved in 1 out of 4 SCI accidents.

Statistics of SCI

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure for those living with spinal cord injuries, as well as resources for patients, families, and caregivers. They report that:

  • 3% of people living with paralysis have a spinal cord injury
  • Spinal cord injuries cost $40.5 billion annually, a 317% increase from the $9.7 billion in 1998.

The latest statistics from The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center at the University of Alabama include:

  • There are about 54 SCI cases per one million people in the US, resulting in 17,810 new cases every year. While there are currently no national studies of SCI, the National Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems (SCIMS) Database has been collecting data on the subject since 1973.
  • There are an estimated 294,000 people in the US living with SCI, with a possible range of 240,000 and 337,000
  • Approximately 78% of new SCI cases are male, with an average age of 43. That’s up from age 29 in the 1970s
  • While motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause, falls are also a leading cause among all ages, not just anyone over 65
  • About one-third of individuals with SCI return to work. This depends on a number of factors, including age, gender, race, education level, pre-accident work history, motivation, the ability to move independently, neurological levels, and the completeness of injury. The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation also has a factsheet on employment and returning to work for those with paralysis.
  • An average hospital stay for a patient with SCI in 2020 is an average of 11 days, compared with 24 days in the 1970s. Rehabilitation stays have also decreased from an average of 98 days in the 1970s to an average of 31 days now.

The NSCISC includes an FAQ page with additional facts and information, as does the Reeve Foundation.

Kansas City’s Spinal Cord Injury Law Firm

If you or a loved one have suffered a spinal cord injury and need help, contact us at The Popham Law Firm. Our spinal cord injury attorneys understand the difficulty of having this injury as well as getting help after an accident. Call us at (816) 221-2288 today or use our contact form. We’ll schedule an appointment and talk with you about how we can help.

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