A Message from Spinal Research on World Spinal Cord Injury Day

If you didn’t know already, today, September 5th, is World Spinal Cord Injury Day, designated as such by the International Spinal Cord Society with the intention of increasing awareness of the injury amongst the general public.

This is particularly important during the ongoing pandemic because spinal cord injury still exists, and the need for research has never been greater.

Those who live with from a spinal cord injury face devastating knock-on effects from the resultant paralysis which can impact physical and mental health, financial and personal well-being, as well as cause a whole host of other oft-forgotten complications.

If that sounds familiar, it should. Everything that this pandemic has meant for the general population in terms of health worries, social isolation, and financial turmoil, has been a long-time reality for the spinal cord injury community. Except for them lockdown has been even more extreme.

This is because those with a spinal cord injury fall within the high-risk category and have been shielding to avoid the virus. Individuals with spinal cord injury are more prone to infection, because after an injury the immune system is severely impacted. While some higher-level injuries impact the respiratory system leading to scary respiratory deficiencies. Beyond this, even the need to use a wheelchair leads to greater exposure to infected surfaces. In all these respects and more, the problems brought on by this pandemic have been exacerbated for those with spinal cord injury.

And these problems will continue to remain very real, even as lockdown lifts and we adjust our approach to this pandemic.

However, after enduring an intense lockdown, the spinal cord injury community now faces a double disappointment because of the financial impact this pandemic has had on research.

Our current research portfolio contains basic, translational, and clinical projects. Like all aspects of our everyday lives these projects have been severely affected in the last six months. Not only were they paused during lockdown, but in many cases, they now face further delays due to the loss of important preparation time and key resources. We need to ensure these projects are completed, and that in doing so we do not jeopardise any of our future plans.

It is only with consistency and continuity in our research portfolio that we will get closer to help our supporters and change the future of spinal cord injury.