Diving into a pool or lake during summer activities may land you in a wheelchair for the rest of your life; over 800 people per year suffer a spinal cord injury from diving in head first. These injuries are preventable—just remember to always go in feet first when entering pools, ponds, lakes, and the ocean.

Perhaps you didn’t see a sign warning you of danger. Maybe you didn’t know that the “No Diving” sign meant the water was too shallow. Or you thought the water was deep enough because it had been the last time you dove in. But 1000 other people thought that too and ended up with broken necks, paralysis, or even worse, didn’t make it through the injury.


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Paralysis is a life changing condition that can be caused by medical conditions like multiple sclerosis, but in many cases results from a traumatic accident or injury that leaves the person with a spinal cord, head, and/or brain injury. Repairing nerve and muscle damage or a break in the connection between the brain and the rest of the body is extraordinarily difficult and sometimes considered impossible. But new research and advances in technology are bringing hope to people who have been partially or fully paralyzed.

Depending on the type of injury, different surgical methods can be used to repair injured areas of the body. Peripheral Nerve Surgery is used to sew severed nerves back together or to apply a nerve graft to reconnect sensation and movement to an area. Another method is a muscle transplant to replace damaged muscle with working muscle from another area of the body, e.g., the thigh for the bicep. In cases where the brain has lost control of a part of the body due to spinal cord injury, new advanced research is being done with computers and implants to stimulate the brain function and restore movement. One such method is called functional electrical stimulation (FES) which uses electrical pulses to restore muscle function.


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