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Sach D. Oliver
Sach D. Oliver
Contributor •

Coping With Spinal Injuries: A Positive Outlook


Many people are aware of who Christopher Reeves was. The man who was Superman to so many Americans suffered a spinal injury which resulted in paralysis, when he fell from a horse. For many people it was a tragic scene to see a man who had leaped burning buildings spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. While I am in no way downplaying the seriousness of such an injury (they are life-changing), it is important to know that for many people who suffer spinal cord injuries, life afterwards is not always tragic.

It is interesting to note that while a variety of serious emotions are felt by those who suffer spinal cord injuries, most people adapt well to their injury over time.[1] Research notes that after a period of adjustment the injured tend to have positive-self concepts, are in general satisfied with life, and are not more depressed than the non-injured.[2] One spinal cord injury sufferer noted that “We are the living demonstration that even if life circumstances become tough, life satisfaction can remain high. We’re proof that things can be hard, but good. People need to know that.”[3]

After a serious spinal injury it is typical for those injured to feel sadness, anger, hostility, anxiety, panic, feelings of inadequacy, shame, helplessness, and vulnerability.[4] It takes strong support to overcome these feelings and issues, but it can be done with the right help.

[1] Martha Somers, Spinal Cord Injuries: Functional Rehabilitation (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 2001), 59.

[2] Id.

[3] Quote by Barry Corbet; Martha Somers, Spinal Cord Injuries: Functional Rehabilitation (New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 2001), 60.

[4] Id, at 59.


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    You’re absolutely right, Sach – life doesn’t end for those with paralysis. The late Chris and Dana Reeve (I was fortunate enough to meet the latter) believed strongly in that, which is why they founded the Paralysis Resource Center (I help them with public relations) to really be a resource for those who are struck with paralysis, as well as their families; because so often one just doesn’t know where to get help. I hope your readers will check it out; it’s got a ton of information, and is accessible in several different languages as well. Thank you for reminding people that paralysis isn’t the end of one’s life, but the beginning of a new one.

  2. Sach says:
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    Thank you for your comment. I will check out Paralysis Resource Center and learn more information. We should talk about this topic soon.