National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness month in the USA is devoted to inform, enlighten, educate and enhance the quality of life of people with complications associated with Spinal Cord Injuries. The United Spinal Association is an organisation that was founded in New York City. Their aim is in supporting change in public policy and raise awareness for individuals dealing with paralysing injuries in the community. In 2008, they announced that September would be officially recognised as the Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month.
The spinal cord is the support system of the body; it is a long pipe-like structure from the end of the brain to the bottom of the spine at the lumbar region. Its main role is in connecting the brain and peripheral nervous system .It serves as a pathway in disseminating information between the brain and peripheral nervous system. In case of spinal cord injury, chances of survival are minimal due to the interruption of the support system. Many functional process of the body are paralysed. The injury can be caused by trauma to the spinal column, which results from bruising, applying pressure, and stretching.
It is critical for one to be aware of this month, because people will adapt to the challenges of living with a Spinal Cord Injury and discover ways to lead a quality life. The United Spinal Association is dedicated to raising awareness on the matters that affect individuals living with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). The association is in the forefront of fighting for greater access to the right wheelchairs, public transportation and health care services.
Statistically, annual incidence of spinal cord injury is about 17,000 for new cases. The leading cause of injury being vehicle crashes, followed by falls, acts of violence and last on the list being sports and recreation activities. Average age at injury has increased from 29 years during the 1970s to 42 years currently. About 80% of new SCI cases are male. Other statistics according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, every 48 seconds in the United States someone is paralysed.
With vehicle crashes being the lead cause of spinal cord injuries in the USA, safe driving techniques and increased self-awareness can both help to lower the risk of SCI cases. Awareness about the dangers of using cell phones and other devices while operating a vehicle is embraced and enhanced through various media.