The Stanford Partnership for Spinal Cord Injury & Repair

Physical therapist Kelli Manring, MSPT, works with a patient at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. They are using an arm ergometer to improve strength and function in his arms, which have been impacted by tetraplegia.

Breakthrough Strategies for Restoring Function and Independence

Damage to the spinal cord could happen in the blink of an eye – from a car accident, a fall, or a sports injury. It can also develop gradually from multiple sclerosis or an aging spine. The result is often catastrophic, permanent disability.

People ages 16 to 30, veterans, and senior citizens are most often affected. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injury for young people, while falls and degenerative joint diseases cause most injuries in older adults. In addition to traumatic injury, damage may be caused by arthritis, multiple sclerosis, spinal tumors, and blood vessel disorders that affect the spinal cord.

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, a spinal cord injured person will incur between $500,000 and $3.1 million in lifetime medical expenses, depending on the type of injury and age of onset. The cost to our nation’s economy from spinal cord injury is well over $9.7 billion each year. The full human cost is beyond calculation: education, career, marriage, and independence are disrupted and some-times never restored.

The Stanford Partnership for Spinal Cord Injury and Repair (SPSC) aims to reduce the costs - personal, social, and financial - of spinal cord injury and dysfunction through a formidable network of collaborations employing breakthrough strategies for repair and restoration of function.