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Dangerous Trend: Rate of Spinal Cord Injury Increases in the United States

An injury to the spinal cord is always serious. A recent study suggests the rate of this devastating injury is on the rise in the United States.

Along with traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury (SCI) can permanently disable. As the communication highway between the brain and the body, damage to the spinal cord at any level affects motor and sensory function below the injury.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University studied data from more than 43,000 adults who received emergency treatment for spinal cord injury in the United States between 2007 and 2009. Upon comparing their findings to earlier figures from 2000 through 2005, they came to conclusions that include:

  • The rate of spinal cord injury among adults is increasing, primarily among adults age 65 and older. Falls account for approximately 30 percent of injury to seniors.
  • Falls have now overtaken automobile accidents as the leading cause of SCI in this country. Study authors note improved occupant safety systems may account for a reduction in SCI caused by vehicle accidents.
  • The elderly are at greater risk for dying during emergency treatment for SCI, and also after admission to the hospital.

Notes study leader Shalini Selvarajah, M.D., M.P.H., “[w]e have demonstrated how costly traumatic spinal cord injury is and how lethal and disabling it can be among older people.”

At all ages, the result of SCI is often a painfully altered future. Quality care can range from $1 million to $5 million during the span of a lifetime. If you or a loved one is injured in Atlanta through the negligence of others, speak with an injury attorney to pursue the fair compensation you deserve.