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5 important facts about serious spinal cord injuries

Spinal cord injuries may require lifetime care and may never fully heal. The goal, through treatment and rehabilitation, is always to get back to a full range of motor function. Unfortunately, that's simply not always possible. These injuries can be very expensive immediately after they occur and those expenses can then mount as life-long medical assistance becomes necessary.

Young people especially must understand the risks, as they may have decades to live with an injury. To help college students and young professionals get a better understanding of these catastrophic injuries, here are a five keys facts about spinal cord injuries, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center:

1. There are roughly 12,500 spinal cord injuries every single year in the United States.

This works out to 40 injuries for every 1 million people. Moreover, this doesn't look at fatal accidents, so deadly SCIs would push that stay up even more.

2. The average age is rising.

This is potentially good new for those in their 20s. In the 1970s, the average age that a SCI occurred was 29, meaning these were especially problematic for young professionals. Currently, the average age is 42. Accidents can happen to anyone, of course, but this does show a dramatic shift.

3. Men are far more likely to be hurt.

For a variety of reasons, men are vastly more likely to suffer spinal cord injuries than women. A staggering 80 percent of all new cases are men.

4. Car accidents cause the most SCIs.

For the young businessperson commuting to and from work every day, the road is the biggest threat. Most spinal cord injuries happen in car accidents. After that, the leading causes are falls, violence, and sports and recreational injuries. In cases in which violence is to blame, gunshot wounds are the leading cause.

5. Employment rates decline quickly in the first year.

You're trying to carve out a career for yourself, but spinal cord injuries can certainly derail your plans. At the time of the injury, most people (58.1 percent) have jobs. Just one year later, that plummets to 12.2 percent. It then does crawl back up, but it only gets to 27.9 percent a decade later and 34.4 percent two decades later.

Have you suffered a spinal cord injury that threw your life into disarray? Now you're out of work, you're worried that your career may be over for good, and you have mountains of medical debt. You also need lasting care, so that debt keeps growing. If so, be sure you know what rights you may have to compensation. Not only can this help with the bills, but it may cover lost wages, as well. 

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