Spinal Cord Injury Information

A spinal cord injury is a traumatic injury that impacts the spinal cord, a bundle of nerves that is part of the central nervous system, responsible for transmitting signals from the brain to the rest of the body. This delicate cord is protected by the vertebral spinal column, the series of bones that runs vertically along your back. Damage to the spinal cord can impact sensory, motor, and reflex capabilities below the injury site. And the higher the injury occurs in the spinal cord, the more severe the damage.


  • While spinal cord injuries primarily occur in younger generations, with more than half of all SCI injuries occurring among those who are 16-30 years of age. However, the average age of a spinal cord injury survivor is changing, increasing from an average age of 29 in the 1970s to 42 today. 

  • Falls account for the most common cause of spinal cord injuries among elderly populations over age 65.

  • More than 81% of reported SCI survivors are men.

  • Automobile accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for 38.4% of all cases since 2010. This is followed next by falls (more than 30.5%); violence, such as gunshot wounds (13.5%), sporting accidents (8.9%), medical/surgical (4.7), and other spinal cord injury causes (4%).

  • The average annual expenses in the first year after a high tetraplegia spinal cord injury is $1.079 million.

Please note: Life Rolls On helps people with a variety of mobility challenges – not only disabilities resulting from spinal cord injuries. The Life Rolls On community includes survivors of stroke and polio; people born with spina bifida and cerebral palsy; and people living with neurological disorders that have caused paralysis. If you have questions about participating in a Life Rolls On adaptive athletic event, please contact us.