Protect yourself from a traumatic spinal cord injury

[Allina Newsroom, August 30, 2023] A sudden blow to your spine that dislocates, fractures, compresses or crushes one or more of your vertebrae can cause a traumatic spinal cord injury. The average age of a person with a new spinal cord injury is 35.9 years old, and 80% of those injuries happen in males. Since September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, we wanted to share five facts about spinal cord injury and prevention.



  1. The top 5 causes

  • Motor vehicle crashes

  • Falls

  • Gunshot wounds

  • Motorcycle crashes

  • Diving accidents

  1. General spinal cord injury safety in all seasons

  • Avoid drinking alcohol prior to driving.

  • Always wear a safety belt when riding or driving in a vehicle.

  • All children 12 and under should ride in a vehicle with proper back seat restraints for their age.

  • When riding a motorcycle always wear a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved helmet. (Check inside helmet for the DOT label).

  • Obey speed limits.

  • Wear proper safety gear for the sport you’re participating in and check weather and safety reports.

  • For older adults: Be physically active, have a provider or pharmacist regularly review any medications you take, and participate in a fall prevention program.

  1. Safety tips to avoid a SCI during summer

  • Always check the depth of water before diving, especially at the lake where depths may be unknown or change depending on rainfall.

  • Never dive into a pool that is shallower than 9 feet, and deeper is better. Never dive into an above-ground pool.

  1. Safety tips to prevent a SCI during autumn

  • Before hunting, check your equipment. Make sure your tree stand is installed and built safely before you climb.

  • Wear your safety harness at all times when climbing, hunting and descending. Choose a quick-release harness that will hold you right-side-up and not restrict your breathing should you fall.

  • If you own firearms, always keep them unloaded and locked. Lock and store bullets in a separate location.

  1. Safety tips to prevent a SCI during winter

  • Walk on designated paths.

  • Wear correct footwear and walk with your knees slightly bent, your center of gravity over your front leg, walk flat footed, extend your arms, and walk slowly.

  • Do not take big steps, shortcuts, walk with your hands in your pockets, or walk too fast.

  • Check weather/safety reports especially if you plan to snowmobile or ice fish.


To learn more about Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute’s Comprehensive Spinal Cord Injury Services, go to Spinal Cord Injury | Courage Kenny | Allina Health


Author:  James Spendley, DO
               Jennifer L. Theis, MS, OT/L | Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital

Posted on August 30, 2023 in

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