NEW YORK, Sept. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Spinal Association was instrumental in championing a resolution that passed the U.S. Senate designating September 2020 as National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month.
The resolution, introduced by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), recognizes the 294,000 individuals living with spinal cord injury (SCI) in the U.S.
"Senators Rubio and Baldwin have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to ensure Americans living with SCI, including paralyzed veterans, can achieve greater quality of life and independence. We are grateful for their support," said James Weisman, president and CEO of United Spinal Association.
"United Spinal looks forward to working with both senators and all of Congress to address the issues impacting our community," added Weisman.
SCI is an injury to the spinal cord that may affect motor, sensory and autonomic function often resulting in paralysis, loss of sensation, and autonomic dysfunction (such as blood pressure instability and disruptions in temperature regulation. People who sustain a spinal cord injury often have permanent and profound neurologic deficits and accompanying disability.
Depending on the level of injury, SCI can result in paralysis of the muscles, including those used for breathing; loss of sensation (feeling) below the level of injury; loss of voluntary bowel and bladder control; and numerous secondary conditions. Common secondary conditions include respiratory problems, pressure injuries (also known as pressure sores or bed sores) and autonomic dysfunction such as described above.
For those living with SCI, one of the most important elements of their care often becomes preventing complications resulting from the injury, and preventing complications related to disability.
The average age at injury has increased from 29 years during the 1970s to 43 years recently. About 78 percent of new SCI cases are male. Vehicle crashes are the most recent leading cause of injury, closely followed by falls. Acts of violence (primarily gunshot wounds) and sports/recreation activities are also relatively common causes.
United Spinal is committed to advocating for greater civil rights and independence for wheelchair users and all Americans impacted by SCI. It advocates to expand education and employment, improve enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ensure adequate access to public transportation and taxi services, and amend Medicare rules that restrict many individuals to their homes and nursing facilities.
About United Spinal Association Formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans, United Spinal is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D). Membership is free and open to all individuals with SCI/D, with over 53,000 members across 50 chapters nationwide. Known for its revolutionary advocacy efforts, United Spinal played a significant role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, provided important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act, and was instrumental in attaining sidewalk curb ramps and accessible public transportation in New York City, which created the standard accessibility model used in many United States cities.