What is a Spinal Cord Injury?

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) occurs when a traumatic event, disease, or virus damages the cells within the spinal cord and affects the nerves that relay signals from the brain to the body, resulting in the loss of normal function.  SCI often causes people to suffer paralysis of various degrees according to their level of injury and the severity of the damage. 

In depth look at levels of injury

Every year, 10,000 - 20,000 people suffer spinal cord injury in the United States.  Researchers at the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation found there are over 1.2 million people living with spinal cord injury in America today.

Statistics on SCI

Initially after a spinal cord injury, the body suffers spinal shock (and at times neurogenic shock) during which many of the body’s normal functions shut down due to the trauma the body has encountered. 

Spinal shock results in the lack of muscle tone and contraction, and loss of tendon reflexes, below the level of injury.  These symptoms may last days to weeks to months. As the body comes out of spinal shock, often the individual will regain a significant amount of function. 

The first week or two after a spinal cord injury is referred to as the “acute period.” There are conditions that occur during this time that require special attention and treatment.   


Click Here for more info on the acute phase of an SCI

This is usually the scariest time for people that have suffered SCI.  No one ever plans ahead for such a catastrophic injury, because no one ever thinks it could happen to them.  When a devastating injury does occur, most people are not prepared to deal with the way an event like this changes one’s life.   This is one of the ways Triumph Foundation is of service, by helping to make the unknown known.

FREE Christopher Reeve's Paralysis Resource guide for newly injured individuals

Triumph Foundation believes that people with SCI never stop healing; that recovery is usually not an overnight phenomenon but a lifetime goal; and that people with SCI get better every day if they push themselves to triumph over their injury.  We subscribe to the belief that exercise is medicine, that a healthy lifestyle is essential part of recovery, and that living life to its fullest potential is the ultimate goal after suffering SCI.

Follow the links for more info on SCI

Videos on understanding SCI- What you need to know

Videos for families facing SCI

Determined to Heal- Steps to Recovery

Simple website with good information- SCI-Recovery.org

Network with thousands of others with SCI in CareCure's chat room

List of SCI Support Groups in Southern California