The spinal cord consists of a complex bundle of nerves running from the brain to the base of the spine.This acts as a telecommunications system between the brain and the body, thereby enabling the body to function properly.
These messages from the brain to the body are not only responsible for movement and control of muscles and organs, but also convey the sensation of pain, pleasure, touch, pressure as well as telling the body when all or part of it is hot or cold. A damaged or severed spinal cord means the use of limbs below the level of injury is impossible: a broken neck often deprives the person of their arms and hands, as well as legs; but also bowel and bladder control; and sometimes the ability to breathe unaided.
- More than one injury of this type occurs every day in Australia
- Over 15,000 Australians live with a spinal cord injury
- The most likely age to have a spinal cord injury is just 19 years
- 83% of sufferers are male.
- Motor vehicle accidents 53%
- Sporting accidents 12% (rugby, horseriding, diving, skiing, etc)
- Everyday accidents 23% (falls from ladders, slipping and falling, etc)