September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month
September 13, 2021 | Story by Megan Trexler | Commander, Navy Installations Command
WASHINGTON – September is National Spinal Cord Injury Month. In 2013, the U.S. Senate passed U.S. Senate Resolution 533, which designated September as National Spinal Cord Injury Month. The spinal cord injury awareness campaign is to raise awareness of the severity of spinal cord injuries and the ongoing need for research about the injury and a cure for paralysis.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center’s “Facts and Figures at a Glance 2021”, there is estimated to be between 247,000 and 358,000 people living with a spinal cord injury, and about 17,700 new spinal cord injury cases each year.
As with most awareness campaigns and efforts, spinal cord injury awareness also has its own ribbon color. The spinal cord injury ribbon color is lime green.
What is a Spinal Cord?
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that communicates messages traveling between the brain and the rest of the body. The spinal cord is surrounded and protected by the spinal column (spine). The spinal column is made up of the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral and coccygeal vertebrae, from which 31 pairs of spinal nerves emerge segmentally and extend to the various parts of the body.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
Spinal cord injury is an injury to the spinal cord that may affect motor, sensory and autonomic function often resulting in paralysis and loss of sensation and autonomic dysfunction (such as blood pressure instability and disruptions in temperature regulation)… just to name a few.
After a spinal cord injury, nerves above the level of injury keep working normally. At the level of injury, messages may be blocked from being transmitted from above that level to below the level of injury.
Depending on the level of injury, spinal cord injury can result in paralysis of the muscles, including those used for breathing, loss of sensation (feeling) below the level of injury, as well as secondary conditions. For those living with spinal cord injury, one of the most important elements of their care often becomes preventing complications resulting from the injury, and preventing complications related to disability.
Navy Wounded Warrior is the Navy’s sole organization for coordinating the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen and providing resources and support to their families.Through proactive leadership, the program provides individually tailored assistance designed to optimize the success of the wounded warriors’ recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration activities.
Data and information is shared from the United Spinal Association and other select resources. No Navy endorsement implied.