Facts About Spinal Cord Injuries

Who Do Spinal Cord Injuries Affect in the United States?

  • 250,000 Americans are spinal cord injured.
  • 52% of spinal cord injured individuals are considered paraplegic and 47% quadriplegic.
  • Approximately 11,000 new injuries occur each year.
  • 82% are male.
  • 56% of injuries occur between the ages of 16 and 30.
  • The average age of spinal cord injured person is 31.

SCI injuries are most commonly caused by:

  • Vehicular accidents 37%
  • Violence 28%
  • Falls 21%
  • Sports-related 6%
  • Other 8%

The most rapidly increasing cause of injuries is due to violence; vehicular accident injuries are decreasing in number.

89% of all SCI individuals are discharged from hospitals to a private home, 4.3% are discharged to nursing homes.

Only 52% of SCI individuals are covered by private health insurance at time of injury.

What Do Spinal Cord Injuries Really Cost?

  • Length of initial hospitalization following injury in acute care units: 15 days
  • Average stay in rehabilitation unit: 44 days
  • Initial hospitalization costs following injury: $140,000
  • Average first year expenses for a SCI injury (all groups): $198,000
  • First year expenses for paraplegics: $152,000
  • First year expenses for quadriplegics: $417,000
  • Average lifetime costs for paraplegics, age of injury 25: $428,000
  • Percentage of SCI individuals who are covered by private health insurance at time of injury: 52%
  • Percentage of SCI individuals unemployed eight years after injury 63%

Source: The University of Alabama National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center