Life After Spinal Cord Injury: What’s Next?


Sustaining a spinal cord injury changes your entire life in an instant. Losing mobility, sensation, and control of physical functions can be devastating, and can often lead newly injured people with spinal cord injuries into a depression. However, do not lose hope! There are hundreds upon thousands of people in the world who have sustained spinal cord injuries and are living accomplished, happy lives. Living with an SCI can be just as enjoyable and fulfilling as living life on two feet. With the right people, resources, and goals, you can find your purpose and find your way to happiness while living with a spinal cord injury.

Setting Personal, Professional, and Recreational Goals

Living with a spinal cord injury is definitely different than life before your injury, but this is no reason to become hopeless. There are so many resources, organizations, and people across the nation who can help make life with an SCI fulfilling, enjoyable, and exciting. When looking at your future, start by making attainable goals that are personal, professional, and recreational.

Personal goals for your future can include goals for relationships, overall satisfaction, and even physical recovery. Personal goals that focus on maintaining and strengthening friendships are important for people with SCIs; having a strong support system is vital to overall life satisfaction during the process of recovery. Your personal goals for your future should also represent what is most important to you. For example, if finding a partner is important to you, making a goal to start dating by a certain month or year can help you start the process of developing a strong relationship with someone. If your goal is to be happier, focus on what it is that would make you enjoy your life with more joy and more confidence. Lastly, if you have a physical recovery goal, remember to be realistic. Your level and severity of injury will factor into what an attainable goal is for you. If you are a new quadriplegic, a good personal goal could be to find a device that allows you to use your computer in a comfortable manner.

Sustaining a spinal cord injury does not mean you will never work again! Many people with new spinal cord injuries become worried about returning to their job or finding a new job that would hire them. However, setting professional goals is vital while looking at your future after sustaining a spinal cord injury. After being discharged from the hospital and after you have adapted to your new mobility, employment is a great option to consider. When setting professional goals, consider what job you would like to hold in the future. Identify your dream career, and then create goals to eventually attain that position. For example, if you would like to be a General Manager of a store one day, a good first professional goal would be to find companies you would enjoy working for. Another professional goal can be to find an entry-level position in your ideal field of work, or to talk to an employment counselor to discuss your future employment options. Keep in mind, there are so many local, state, and federal resources across the nation that focus on helping people with disabilities in their search for employment. If you ever need help in the process of gaining skills for employment or applying to jobs, look into the professional resources that are in your area. Having a career you enjoy can greatly increase your life satisfaction and can provide you with a sense of purpose.

Lastly, setting recreational goals can be a great way to keep yourself active and in a good mood. There are many different adaptive recreational activities for people with similar injuries across the nation. Common adaptive activities include skydiving, kayaking, waterskiing, hand cycling, wheelchair basketball, swimming, and power soccer. When setting recreational goals for your future, keep in mind your level of injury, along with what activities you enjoy. If you are a quadriplegic, you should focus on getting involved in activities that do not require extensive hand mobility (such as adaptive hand-cycling and skydiving), while paraplegics can consider other activities such as wheelchair basketball and kayaking. There are plenty of ways for you to stay active while living with a spinal cord injury. Do not let your injury stop you from going outside, enjoying yourself with friends and family, and seeking that adrenaline rush you get during recreation!

Contact The Spinal Cord Injury Law Firm with SCI Questions

The staff at The Spinal Cord Injury Law Firm are committed to fighting for the legal rights for people with spinal cord injuries. However, we live life with spinal cord injuries just like you and we love the opportunity to provide mentoring and resources for individuals and their families following a spinal cord injury. If you have questions as to what goals you should be setting following your SCI, or what resources and organizations in your area you should take part in, please contact us today at 1-877-SCI-FIRM or We are always happy to introduce newly injured people to the many wonderful resources the spinal cord injury community has to offer.