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A spinal cord injury is an injury that happens when sudden force is put on the spinal column, such as in a vehicle accident or a sporting accident. According to the Spinal Cord Injury Information Network, there are about 40 spinal cord injuries per million people in the United States. This means that there are about 12,000 new cases each year. As of 2008, there were 229,000 to 306,000 people living in the United States with a spinal cord injury.
Spinal cord injury statistics report that these injuries occur at an average age of 40 years (since 2005, prior to that, the average age was 28.7 years). Also, 80.9 percent of spinal cord injuries happen to males—though the website does not say, it may be because males are more involved in rough sporting activities and other high-risk events.
Since 2005, 42.1 percent of spinal cord injuries were caused by vehicle accidents. Falls are the next most common cause, then acts of violence (usually gunshot wounds), followed by sporting activities. Over the years, the proportion of spinal cord injuries due to sporting events has declined.
For those with a spinal cord injury, about 58 percent were employed prior to the injury. Only about 12 percent of those who have suffered a spinal cord injury return to some type of employment, though that rate goes up for each year post-injury. By post injury year 20, about 35 percent of spinal cord injury patients are re-employed.