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Can someone with a spinal cord injury walk away from a crash?

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2024 | Personal Injury |

Most people have a very limited understanding of spinal cord injuries. However, they may still trust that they can recognize when they or someone else in their vehicle may have injured their spinal cord during a collision. After all, people may already know that the spinal cord facilitates communication between the brain and the rest of the body. Therefore, a spinal cord injury can affect someone’s motor function and physical sensation.

Spinal cord injuries have a strong association with paralysis. Many people with spinal cord injuries require extensive medical support and may rely on wheelchairs for mobility after their injury. As such, most people assume that someone with a spinal cord injury could not possibly walk away from a car crash. Yet, this deduction isn’t as informed as it needs to be.

Not all spinal cord injuries cause paralysis

Contrary to misconceptions, not all spinal cord injuries cause total paralysis or loss of sensation. A complete spinal cord injury prevents communication between the brain and the lower body. The consequences include paralysis and a total loss of sensation. Someone with a complete spinal cord injury likely understands very early on that they require emergency medical care.

Still, not every person who hurts their spinal cord in a crash suffers a complete injury. Incomplete spinal cord injuries may only tear, pinch or otherwise damage the spinal cord. Someone could still potentially walk and feel pain despite having a spinal cord injury. They could also reduce their symptoms with proper care after the initial trauma.

Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Incomplete injuries can worsen if someone does not receive proper stabilization and medical intervention. Someone could eventually develop complete paralysis as a result of an incomplete spinal cord injury that worsens. When first responders at the scene of a crash suspect that someone has suffered a spinal cord injury, they may take immediate action to stabilize that person’s spine until they can undergo proper evaluation.

Those who understand that it is possible to walk away from a crash after suffering a spinal cord injury may be able to better evaluate themselves and other occupants of their vehicles for warning signs of severe injury after a collision. Getting proper medical support as soon as possible can make a major difference for those with catastrophic injuries caused by a wreck.