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What causes spinal cord injuries?

Many people across the country are eagerly anticipating the upcoming football season. Both high school and college football are traditions in West Virginia. For many fans, football involves more than just the game on the field. Mascots, marching bands and cheerleaders are also an entertaining component of most high school and college football games.

However, there is increasing attention being paid to the risk of concussions and other catastrophic injury in contact sports. Football and even cheerleading are among the most dangerous sports in terms of the risk of head and spinal injury.

Still, according to data from the Mayo Clinic, sports like football and cheerleading account for less than 10 percent of all spinal cord injuries. So what are the other causes of these catastrophic injuries?

Motor vehicle accidents top the list of causes for spinal cord injuries. Accidents involving autos and motorcycles account for 40 percent of these injuries every year. Slip-and-fall accidents are the next biggest cause, resulting in roughly 25 percent of spinal cord injuries. Diseases and acts of violence lead to the remainder of spinal cord injuries.

No matter what the cause, spinal cord injuries can drastically change a person's life. In addition to causing debilitating physical problems, victims usually incur enormous medical expenses for surgeries, rehabilitation and long-term medical care. Victims and their families should not have to bear these costs when the injury was caused by someone else's negligence.

This season, football players, cheerleaders and their coaches should remember to put safety first. No sport is worth getting a spinal cord injury. Likewise, drivers and motorcyclists should do their part to keep the roads safe and help cut down on the numbers of these horrific injuries.

When spinal injuries are the result of someone else's negligence, the injured may seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. West Virginia attorneys can help the injured or their families to understand how the process works.

Source: MayoClinic.org, "Spinal cord injury: Causes," accessed Aug. 15, 2014

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