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As an Emergency Medical Technician EMT when someone has a spinal injury additional movement may cause further damage to the spine EMTs must always immobilize the patients head and torso in the position found The purpose of an EMT is to prevent further harm to the patient until more professional medical help can be obtained If in doubt about whether a person has received a spinal injury always assume he or she has A spinal cord injury SCI is very serious because it can mean the loss of sensation and function in the parts of the body below the site of the injury SCIs are caused in many different ways Some of the most common ways a person may obtain a SCI are- motor vehicle accidents bullet or stab wound diving accidents electric shock awkward positioning of the body falls sports injuries such as football or diving industrial accidents assault and gunshot wounds Polio Spina Bifida and Friedreichs Ataxia are some of the frequent diseases that cause SCI SCI may also be know in other names such as spinal cord compression SCC and spinal cord trauma SCT According to an article in SCIs occur in approximately 12000 to 15000 people per year in the US About 10000 of these people are permanently paralyzed and many of the rest die as a result of their injuries Most spinal cord trauma occurs to young healthy individuals Males between the ages of 15 and 35 are most commonly affected The spinal cord is about 18 inches long and extends from the base of the brain down the middle of the back to about the waist It is composed of 33 bones called vertebrae 31 pairs of nerves 40 muscles and numerous connecting tendons and ligaments running from the base of the skull to the tailbone Between the vertebrae are fibrous elastic cartilage called discs These absorb shock and keep your spine flexible and cushion the hard vertebrae
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