Spinal Cord Injury Statistics

In a 2005 report submitted by the Utah Department of Health for the Violence and Injury Program, the following statistical information for 1998-2003 was provided. See our Spinal Cord Injury Statistics Infographic

Incidence

According to the report, 387 cases of Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) among Utah residents resulted in either acute care hospitalization or death. An average of five cases per month were reported resulting in an average of 65 SCI cases annually. During the six-year period, males sustained 2.6 times as many SCIs when compared to females. Nationally, 80 % of the SCIs victims are males and 20% are females. Moreover, the highest number of SCI cases for both gender is between the age of 15 and 29. Older adults ages 75–84 have the highest rate of spinal cord injury at 7.2 per 100,000 persons. Adolescents and young adults ages 15–24 have the second-highest rate at 4.3 per 100,000 persons.

Incidence by Local Health District

The report identified Central Utah and Tooele County Local Health Districts as having the highest incidence rates in the State of Utah at 7.5 cases and 7.0 cases per 100,000 persons respectively. On the other hand, Davis County and Weber Morgan LHDs had the lowest incidence rates at 1.0 and 1.4 per 100,000 persons, respectively. A comparison of Utah’s urban and rural areas revealed that rural areas have a markedly higher per-capita incidence of SCI’s than urban areas. Urban Utah includes Davis, Salt Lake, Weber-Morgan and Utah County Health Districts. Of the cases where county of injury was known, the overall incidence of SCI in rural Utah was 4.0 per 100,000 population, more than twice as high as urban Utah’s rate of 1.7 per 100,000 population. When analyzed by etiology, rural Utah’s rate of motor vehicle-related SCI is four times that of urban Utah (2.1 vs. 0.5 per 100,000 population). In addition, sports-related SCI rates are twice as high in rural than urban Utah (0.8 vs. 0.3 per 100,000 population). Falls are the most common cause of SCI in urban Utah.

Etiology

Motor vehicle and other transport is the leading cause of SCI in both males and females. Fall as another leading cause of SCI is higher among females than males. Among males ages 0-29 and 30-59, “Motor vehicle and other transport” was the leading cause of SCI (47.9% and 47.0%, respectively), while fall-related events were the leading cause (46.7%) among the 60 and over age group. Among females 0 to 29 and 30 to 59 years of age, “Motor vehicle and other transport” was the leading cause of SCI (66.0% and 50.0%, respectively). Among those 60 and over, nearly three-fourths of the SCIs (74.0%) were sustained in fall-related events

Intent

While it is true that the majority of the SCI cases are classified as accidental, a significant number are the result of self-harm. Out of the 387 cases, 110 (78 males, 32 females) were classified as intentional and suggestive of suicide attempts. The patients sustained injuries through self-inflicted gunshot wounds and falls. The report added that of the 243 patients who were tested for the presence of alcohol and/or drugs, 46 (18.9%) tested positive. Medical records indicate another 14 patients were suspected to be under the influence at the time of the injury, but no blood samples were available.

Sports-related SCI

20.4% of all male SCI victims sustained the injury in sports-related activities such as skiing and snowboarding, water sports and stunts, and football. Among the nine females (8.3% of all female SCI victims), water sports and horseback riding were the most common causes.

Source of Payment

For cases during 2000-2003 where payment source was collected (n=268), 42.5% of SCI costs were paid by an insurance company (private or employer) or workers’ compensation, 24.3% were paid through government programs, 9.7% were self-pay, and 17.9% included miscellaneous methods of payment such as auto insurance and charitable funds. If you have had a serious spinal cord injury at the expense of someone else, please do not hesitate to contact us at Christensen & Hymas.

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