It is impossible to predict how badly someone's spine has been injured before a doctor has evaluated them. Therefore, everyone who is involved in an accident that could have damaged their back is treated as if they do have an injury to their spine. Most people are familiar with the "backboards" that paramedics use to transport accident victims, but they are unaware of how important these devices are in keeping the spine stable while they are taken to the hospital.
Paramedics and emergency response teams treat accident victims according to strict protocols that have been developed in order to save lives. These protocols are designed to minimize the possibility that someone with a spine injury could be injured while moving him or her from the accident scene or while taking them to a hospital. With these protocols, cervical collars are placed on all accident victims, they are secured on a back-board, and then taken to a hospital for further evaluation.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Each year in the United Sates, there will be approximately 50,000 new spinal cord injuries caused by accidents. A spinal cord injury occurs when the cord itself is crushed, stretched, or torn by the accident.
Unfortunately, this is still an injury that can not be reversed or cured by modern medicine. More than half of these injuries involves the cervical spine, and most of them happen to young men. These injuries are incredibly devastating to the patient, their families, and also to their communities. There is currently a lot of research being done on ways to minimize spine injuries by designing cars for better safety, improving protective gear like football helmets, and educating people about the dangers of certain activities.