Facts Concerning Spinal Cord Injury:
Because the spinal cord carries messages between the brain and muscles through a network of nerve cells, an injury to the spinal cord is one of the most complicated medical traumas a person can sustain. The instant the spinal cord is damaged, vital signals that pass from the brain to the rest of the body are interrupted, which affects the entire nervous system. This can result in the paralysis of muscles, and interferes with blood pressure, body temperature regulation, sensation, bowel and bladder function, and fertility. Each of our “Gridiron Heroes” has sustained a serious neck injury consisting of one or more cervical fractures, leaving him, in medical terms, a quadriplegic.
- The average cost of surgery, hospitalization, medication, equipment, and care for a spinal cord injury patient during the first 100 days after the injury is $150,000 to $500,000. Lifetime expenses of rehabilitation and care often exceed $1 million. A family member’s loss of wages and professional opportunity (caused by the need to become a full-time caregiver) is another tremendous expense.
- Spinal cord injury is a life-changing event. Due to medical advances, those who sustain this injury now have a longer life expectancy, but an injured athlete’s entire family suffers severe emotional, economical, and physical cost.
- Statistics show that about one in every 100,000 high school football players will suffer serious spinal cord injury each year. In Texas alone there has been an average of three spinal cord injuries a year since the start of Gridiron Heroes in 2003. Nationwide there is an average of 10-12 football players year.
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