September is Spinal Cord Awareness Month

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Association every 48 seconds in the United States someone is paralyzed.  Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Awareness Month, which occurs each September, provides an opportunity to raise awareness about spinal cord injuries and the services and supports needed by individuals who sustain them.  As a leading provider of post-acute rehabilitation services for adults and children with brain and spinal cord injuries, NeuroRestorative understands the importance of educating people about these serious and life-altering injuries.

“Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month gives us a chance to bring attention to, and advocate for, the needs of the men and women who live with these injuries,” said Jane Imboden, NeuroRestorative’s South East Regional Vice President. “Our staff members at NeuroRestorative Avalon Park in Orlando Florida are especially proud to serve the unique needs of these individuals and help them rebuild their lives in a fully-accessible community.”

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center approximately 12,000 SCIs occur each year in the United States.  Statistics point to young men as the most-likely to experience an injury, with 80% of individuals who sustain a spinal cord injury being male and nearly 50% being between the ages of 16-30.  Motor vehicle accidents are the most commonly reported cause of injury (36.5%), followed by falls (28.5%), acts of violence (14.3%) – primarily gunshot wounds – and sports related injuries (9.2%).  

The effects of a SCI can be devastating and the road to recovery long. Though not all spinal cord injuries can be prevented, eliminating high-risk behaviors is the first step to prevention.  Safe driving techniques and increased self-awareness can both lower your risk.  Katie Matthews, a former NeuroRestorative Avalon Park program participant, has become an advocate for injury prevention.  Katie became paralyzed in 2006 as a result of a car accident caused by distracted driving and has committed to using her injury to raise awareness about the dangers of using cell phones and other devices while operating a vehicle. 

"A phone call isn't worth your life.  This is what I want to tell people," Katie said.  "You can lecture people about it and sound like you're over the top.  But I have an injury that's so visible; people can see what it did to me.  If I can stop one person from turning out like this, I will have been successful." 

Successful rehabilitation programs such as those offered at NeuroRestorative Avalon Park, the only transitional living facility for individuals with SCI and traumatic brain injury (TBI) in Florida, offer an effective and flexible continuum of care that provides individually tailored programs and services.  Helping individuals, like Matt Coiro who received services from NeuroRestorative Avalon Park, learn the skills they need to rebuild their lives is a key focus area.  An avid athlete, Matt suffered a spinal cord injury in a biking accident.  After receiving care at several other rehabilitation programs, Matt came to NeuroRestorative Avalon Park’s day treatment program to work on strength training and increasing his functional skill level.

Click here to read Matt’s story.

To learn more about Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, visit The National Spinal Cord Injury Association.