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Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems

Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems

The Spinal Cord Injury Model System (SCIMS) Program began in 1970 to improve care and outcomes for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). There are currently 18 SCIMS centers funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), the federal government’s primary disability research organization.

The SCI Model System centers provide a multidisciplinary system of care ranging from emergency services through rehabilitation and reentry into full community life.  They also conduct research, provide education, and disseminate information with the goal of improving long-term functional, vocational, cognitive, and quality-of-life outcomes for individuals with SCI.

The 16 systems are:

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
  • Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center
  • Craig Hospital
  • National Capital Spinal Cord Injury Model System
  • Shepherd Center
  • Midwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury Care System
  • Spaulding New England Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center
  • Michigan Spinal Cord Injury Model System
  • Minnesota Regional Spinal Cord Injury Model System
  • Kessler Foundation
  • Mount Sinai Spinal Cord Injury Model System
  • Northeast Ohio Regional Spinal Cord Injury System
  • University of Pittsburgh Model Center on Spinal Cord Injury
  • The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research
  • Baylor Scott & White Institute for Rehabilitation
  • Virginia Consortium for SCI Care

The SCI Model Systems factsheets on topics such as a guide to inpatient rehabilitation services are wonderful resources for persons new to a SCI journey.

If a loved one has sustained a serious brain injury that has left them with a spinal cord injury, it’s important your legal team understands that injury and how to maximize recovery; the experienced personal injury lawyers with Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci can help you obtain justice. Call us.

Apple Accessibility

Apple has developed a variety of features designed to offer independence to people with a range of disabilities. From voice commands to audio descriptions, a mother who is deaf being alerted by her Apple Watch that her baby is crying, or someone with quadriplegia editing pictures they’ve taken with their phone using only their eyebrows, advances in the use of technology are quite impressive.

Using advancements across hardware, software, and machine learning, users who may rely on assistive features like Voice Control and Switch Control can fully control Apple Watch from their iPhone. There are many other accessibility features available from Apple products, and Apple is also expanding support for its screen reader with over 20 new languages.

Another cool, new feature is Apple Maps[1]; it’sa new guide from the National Park Foundation, Park Access for All, to help users discover accessible features, programs, and services to explore in parks across the US.

Restoration of Upper Limb Function Through Reinnervation

Cervical spinal cord injury can cause loss of upper limb function, which significantly impacts independence; a recent study has shown that in lower level cervical injuries, upper limb function can be restored via reinnervation strategies such as nerve transfer surgery. [2]

A study at Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis, Missouri, analyzed more than 1,000 patients with a C5-C8 SCI enrolled in the SCI Model Systems database. The objective was to evaluate the association of patterns in upper limb motor recovery with functional independence in ADLs. At baseline, the majority of patients were dependent with eating, bladder management, and transfers. At one-year follow-up, patients who had recovered finger flexion or elbow extension had better chances of greater independence in eating, bladder management, and transfers. The odds of recovery were lower for those 60 or older, or for those who had sustained a complete SCI.

These results may be used to design individualized reinnervation plans to optimize upper limb function and maximize independence in patients with low cervical SCI.[3]

Spinal cord injuries can be life-shattering; it is critical that the full breadth of the injury is understood by your legal team. If you have a spinal cord injury, our experienced personal injury lawyers can co-counsel on these complicated cases; call us.

Resources After Spinal Cord Injury

Inclusive Inc is an organization whose mission is to empower quadriplegic wheelchair users through support, education, technology, and advocacy. Their website has resources for adaptive equipment where you can shop by interest, ability, or method of control.  They have switches, joy sticks, home management, and adaptive sporting equipment.

Flint Rehab’s tools-for-quadriplegics provides an overview of adaptive devices that are often used by persons with a SCI.

Researchers at the University of Tubingen, Germany, are experimenting with a hand exoskeleton that may make quadriplegics’ lives easier.

Take some time and check them out.

If someone you care about has sustained a spinal cord injury, it’s important to have the best resources available. The experienced personal injury lawyers with Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci understand the injury, know the right professionals to see, and can help you obtain justice; call us.

Spinal Cord Injury on Trial

Spinal cord injury settlements typically fall into two categories of compensable damages. 

Economic Damages are related to money that you either have spent or will spend, or money you will no longer be able to earn because of your injury.  They can include medical expenses, lost wages, and in-home assistance and renovations. Non-economic damages are those that pertain to non-financial losses or “general damages.” They cover a wide range of losses that can be hard to put a dollar amount to, like pain and suffering and punitive damages. 

A spinal cord injury can be devastating emotionally, physically, and financially. It’s not uncommon for first-year expenses to run more than $1 million and then nearly $200,000 every year after.  Younger plaintiffs will need higher settlements that fully fund their needs over their lifespan. 

Spinal cord injury cases are notoriously difficult to try, as the attorney needs a thorough understanding of the physiology of the injury, the health care system, and the rapidly evolving technology that may be required to keep their client alive and independent. 

An experienced attorney will pull the right team together, so no potential factor or cost is overlooked; a team that understands the insurance company’s offer will be low and who will know how to ensure that it reflects the true cost of care across your loved one’s lifespan.  Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci can help you win a verdict that reflects the full value of the case.  Call us. 

Did You Know? 

white pasta on white paper

The spinal cord has over 100 joints, at least 220 ligaments, and over 120 total muscles. 


[1] pic https://www.apple.com/newsroom/2022/05/apple-previews-innovative-accessibility-features/

[2] pic https://unsplash.com/photos/digital-hand-on-futuristic-background-with-board-circuit-artificial-intelligence-concept-9Yp77mNb2cA

[3] Javeed S, Zhang J, Greenberg J, Botterbush K, Benedict B, Plog B, Gupta V, Dibble C, Khalifeh J, Wen H, Chen Y, Park Y, Belzberg A, Tuffaha S, Burks S, Levi A, Zager E, Faraji A, Mahan M, Midha R, Wilson T, Juknis N, Ray W.

Impact of Upper Limb Motor Recovery on Functional Independence after Traumatic Low Cervical Spinal Cord Injury.

Journal of Neurotrauma. http://doi.org/10.1089/neu.2023.0140 Online Ahead of Editing: December 7, 2023

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