How does COVID-19 affect Spinal Cord Injury Cases?


Written by: Riley J. Connor

From a health perspective, a spinal cord injury induces numerous chronic disorders, putting these individuals at a higher risk when dealing with COVID-19. Specifically, the spinal cord injury population sees “higher rates of hypertension, SCI-induced immunosuppression and, if the metameric level is T8 or above, respiratory failure with continuous or episodic hypoxemia due to respiratory muscle weakness”, according to the NCBI. As COVID-19 targets the respiratory system, the spinal cord injury unfortunately puts these individuals at a higher risk and need to take more precautions than their counterpart.

From a case-by-case perspective, spinal cord injuries are classified as “rare”, so how do they happen? According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, the most common cause is from external trauma. Here is the breakdown of common causes of spinal cord injuries by percentages (since 2015):

empty six-lane highway

  1. Vehicular / Automobile Accidents: 6%
  2. Falls: 2%
  3. Violence (primarily from gunshot wounds): 14%
  4. Sports Injury: 8%
  5. Medical / Surgical Complications: 2%
  6. Miscellaneous / Other Causes: 2%

As states took precaution and mandated stay at home orders due to COVID-19, the number of cars on the road logically decreased. Since vehicular / automobile accidents were the most common cause of spinal cord injuries, does this mean the number of new SCI cases decreased? Not exactly. As the total volume of cars on the roads decreased and traffic decreased — those who drive face less cars and can speed at a higher rate. “And because speed is the number one predictor of crash severity, the proportion of people dying per collision is on the rise in many communities.”

Despite less cars on the road, the deeply troubling statistic is still the fact that most spinal cord injury cases happen due to vehicular or automobile accidents. Hopefully, as we see a return to more and more cars on the road again, better precautions will be put in place to ensure a safe environment for all drivers.

driver on highway

Automobile accidents occur way too often, however The Spinal Cord Injury Law Firm has vast experience with building strong cases for those who have experienced personal injuries, especially involving vehicular accidents. If you or anyone you know have experienced a personal injury and are looking to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, contact us today at or 1-877-SCI-FIRM for a free legal consultation. We know personal injury, and we will fight for you to receive the justice and compensation you deserve.