Spinal cord injuries can be incredibly devastating. Depending on the level of injury, the victim may experience minor or temporary loss of motor function all the way up to complete paraplegia. In the vast majority of cases, these injuries are caused either by a fall or some type of car crash, but even a seemingly minor incident can result in serious injury.
Approximately 12,000 people suffer spinal cord injuries every year in the United States, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistics Center. While most people who suffer spinal cord injuries are male and in their young adult years, people of every age, sex and race can and do become injured.
Olympic gold medalist and swimmer Any Van Dyken-Rouen suffered a spinal cord injury in an Arizona accident on June 6. The 41-year-old was riding an ATV in front of her husband who was on a motorcycle as the two were coming home after dinner. Her ATV apparently hit a curb and went over an embankment. It was not clear from reports what caused the ATV to go into the curb.
We are seeing treatments for spinal cord injuries that may actually provide individuals hope. One patient who was told that he would never be able to walk again found that he could voluntarily move his right leg and toes through the assistance of an electric stimulator that was implanted into his spine. This occurred more than two years after the motor vehicle accident that had left him paralyzed.