This September, let’s celebrate National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month! A spinal cord injury (SCI) is a life altering condition that significantly impacts individuals and families. With an SCI, a patient sustains damage to the spinal cord that results in a loss of function, movement and/or feeling. There are two types of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete. The spinal cord does not have to be severed for a loss of function to occur. Often, the cord is intact, but damage leads to a loss of function.
In this heartfelt interview, Paul Amadeus Lane and Jesse Cuellar discuss his spinal cord injury and how his graffiti and art saved his life.
Statistics on Spinal Cord Injuries
According to the United Spinal Association, approximately 17,700 Americans acquire a spinal cord injury every year. Roughly 78 percent of those are men, and their average age is 43. Most spinal cord injuries happen as a result of a vehicle accident, about 39.3 percent. Falls are another cause, approximately 31.8 percent. About 13.2 percent is due to violence and 4.3 percent is caused by medical/surgery complications.
Life After SCI with a Quantum Rehab Wheelchair
Today, individuals who become paralyzed or sustain a spinal cord injury are fortunate to have access to power wheelchairs and complex rehab technology. A Quantum Rehab wheelchair is customized with different seating and positioning components, as well as electronics to meet the needs of those living with a spinal cord injury. The Edge 3 and Stretto Power Chairs are compatible with optional iLevel® technology, which allows users to elevate up to 12 inches and drive while elevated. iLevel assists individuals with completing activities of daily living, such as cooking, grooming, toileting and transferring.
Mobility equipment, such as a Quantum Rehab Wheelchair, allows SCI patients to live independently in their homes. It enables people to dance, compete and perform as athletes. Thanks to complex rehab, those living with SCI can determine how to live their lives, to push forward and to enjoy each day.
Resources for SCI Patients
There are thousands of groups and organizations throughout the country that help people navigate their spinal cord injury and live their lives the way they choose. You can have a job, live in your community and have a family, all while living with a spinal cord injury. Advancements in medicine, technology, equipment, employment, laws and housing have afforded people with spinal cord injuries greater opportunities to choose a better future, post injury.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a spinal cord injury, there are many organizations and resources available to you. Here are some websites to help you as you begin to explore your options living with SCI.
- United Spinal Association
- American Spinal Injury Association
- International Center for Spinal Cord Injury: Kennedy Krieger Institute
- Spinal Cord Injury Resources by State
- Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
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