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 provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.