It is estimated that more than 250,000 Americans are living with spinal cord injuries. That number is increasing by 11,000+ persons a year due to injuries that occur causing spinal cord injuries.
Christopher Reeve and Joni Eareckson Tada are two persons who suffered catastrophic paralysis as a result of spinal cord injuries. Reeve, of Superman fame, became a paraplegic as the result of an accident which occurred while he was participating in an equestrian competition in 1995. Instead of withdrawing from the world, he became a powerful voice for the need for funding of medical research to help paraplegics regain a better quality of life, up to and including the ability to walk again. Sadly, Reeve died in 2004.
While still a teenager, Joni Eareckson Tada became a paraplegic in the summer of 1967 after diving into a shallow pond. Like Reeve, Joni decided to not only survive but also to thrive in spite of the barriers confronting people with disabilities such as hers. She is a writer, painter and a strong advocate for people with disabilities.
There are some precautions that can be taken to reduce one’s likelihood of suffering a spinal cord. They are shared in this list.
Always wear your seat belt
36.8% of spinal cord injuries are the result of road traffic collisions. Wear your seat belt every time you drive or ride in a car. Ensure your child uses an age- and weight-appropriate child safety seats.
Equip bathroom with safety features
To help prevent falls in your bathroom, equip your bath tub and/or shower with non-skid mats, abrasive strips and grab bars. Place bath mats on the bathroom floor to reduce the risk of slipping on a wet floor.
Add non-strip skids to stairs
Approximately 41.7% of spinal cord injuries result from falls from heights or down stairs. Install non-skid strips on all stairs to help prevent those catastrophic accidents.
Well-lit stairwells with handrails
It is difficult to negotiate your way on stairs when there is no available light. Handrails will help you maintain your balance. Add lights and handrails to help keep you safe.
Keep lamp, phone & extension cords out of the flow of traffic
It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Keep cords of all types – lamp, phone and extension cords – out of the flow of traffic; however, many of us seem to forget to do just that.