People with Spinal Cord Injury Need to Follow Safety Precautions in Sports and Leisure Activities
Shepherd Center advises people with SCI on how to stay safe while being active.
While Shepherd Center encourages people with spinal cord injury (SCI) to pursue an active lifestyle, including participation in sports and leisure activities, clinicians advise patients to remember to consider safety issues while having fun. Follow these tips and stay well:
- Protect your body from bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes while "playing."
- Wear proper clothing (consider the outdoor temperature), including socks and shoes as appropriate for land sports.
- Wear proper swimwear, including surf shoes while in the pool or other body of water.
- Wear sunscreen when it is sunny even if it is cool outside. (You can even get a sunburn while snow skiing!)
- Check your medicines to see if they will cause a sensitivity to the sun. Many medicines make it more likely to get a sunburn while in the sun.
- Avoid staying wet too long. Sitting on wet towels or wheelchair cushions and wearing wet clothes exposes the skin to excess moisture, which can lead to skin problems.
- Protect yourself from overexposure to heat and cold. (See our "Special Concerns Lessons" for more information.)
- Protect yourself from insect bites as they can become infected and cause skin problems.
- Sit far enough away from campfires and space heaters to avoid burns. About 6 feet is generally safe.
- Avoid leaning on elbows while doing activities on tables or desks (studying, playing board games).
Find more health and wellness information at our online educational website, MyShepherdConnection.org. Information is available by diagnosis, including spinal cord injury, brain injury, disorders of consciousness, stroke and multiple sclerosis.
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 935 inpatients, 541 day program patients and more than 7,300 outpatients each year.