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At least one Australian incurs a spinal cord injury every day, adding to the 12,000 people currently living with often life-changing outcome.
Affecting more men than women, spinal injuries are most commonly caused by car accidents, falls and also water-related accidents.
In recent reports those most affected by spinal injury were aged between 15 to 24 years old. However in reality, spinal cord injury can happen to anyone, regardless of age or gender. And with the holiday period approaching – an unfortunately notorious time for motor vehicle accidents – the Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Association of NSW is spreading the message to be vigilant both on and on the roads in order to reduce the number of spinal cord injury cases.
“Transport related accidents account for over half of the traumatic spinal cord injury cases we see each year,” says ParaQuad NSW CEO, Max Bosotti.
“Drivers need to be aware that with more cars on the roads, the risk of an accident resulting in a permanent spinal cord injury is greatly increased.”
The crucial message? Slow down on the roads; be smart about where you swim; and stay safe.
If ever you suspect that someone you know has incurred a spinal injury, but is still conscious, ParaQuad NSW recommends following these crucial steps:
1. Calm the patient and loosen tight clothing. Alert an ambulance by calling triple zero.
2. Do not move the patient unless in they are in danger.
3. Support the head, neck and spine in a neutral position at all times to prevent twisting or bending movements.
4. If the ambulance is delayed, and if you’re trained to do so, apply a cervical collar to minimise neck movement.
Spinal injuries also affect a small proportion of young children too. Discover Evander Conroy’s courageous story as featured in Practical Parenting magazine.
Spinal Injuries Awareness Week runs from 11-17 November. For more information visit www.paraquad.org.au