September marks National Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Awareness month, a time dedicated to educating the public about spinal cord injuries and to promote research to enhance the quality of life for people with SCIs.
Spinal Cord Injuries: Facts & Figures
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are an estimated 247,000 to 358,000 people living with SCIs in the United States. In addition, there are approximately 17,700 new SCI cases a year – a number that doesn’t include individuals who don’t survive the incidents that resulted in the SCI.
Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of SCIs, followed by falls, acts of violence, and sports and recreation activities. The average age of injury for those with SCIs is 42 years old, and almost 80% of new SCI cases are male.
How to get involved in National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month
National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness month was established in 2014 based on U.S. Senate Resolution 533. While the resolution was significant, there are many ways throughout the month that communities, including advocates and employers, can get involved and raise awareness about SCIs:
- Help organize or support a community event – These may include community festivals, races, education sessions, group discussions, and more. Education sessions may cover a variety of topics, including the effects of SCIs on the human body; the emotional impact of SCIs on survivors and their families; financial costs related to SCI; SCI research, etc. Employers may consider hosting a “brown bag lunch” session and bringing in an outside expert to discuss SCIs.
- Highlight the month on your social media and blogs – Dedicate a portion of your social media posts for September to SCI awareness, including sharing facts and resources. If you have a company blog, consider asking someone within or outside of your organization who has first-hand experience related to SCIs to write a blog.
- Display a spinal cord injury awareness ribbon – Wearing or even displaying an SCI awareness ribbon in your office or workplace can help spark conversations about SCIs. The ribbon, which is lime green, may cause people to inquire about the ribbon color and meaning, providing an opportunity to share information and spread awareness about SCIs.
- Connect with national organizations – There are multiple national organizations dedicated to providing resources to the SCI community and educating others about SCIs. These include United Spinal Association, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the American Spinal Injury Association. Each of these organizations, along with many others, host events and conferences in September and throughout the year to spread SCI awareness. Multiple national organizations even have local affiliates that you can reach out to about getting involved with local events and activities.
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Upcoming National Diversity and Disability Inclusion Event
It’s not too late to plan 2019 celebratory events and campaigns. Getting Hired has a list of some of the top diversity and inclusion events to consider for the rest of your 2019 planning, including National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) in October.
For more information about National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, feel free to contact the Getting Hired team.