Most Common Causes of SCI | Forward Ability Support

Most common causes of SCI

Land transport

This includes motor vehicle, motor-cycle and quad-bike accidents. This figure also includes accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians.



Falls from roofs, down multiple stairs / steps, off ladders, verandahs, balconies, walls, scaffolding and trampolines.

People over 65 are most at risk of injury from low falls (from a height of 1 metre or less).


Water related

The majority of injuries result from diving into shallow water at the beach or in pools, from surfing and water-skiing accidents.

87.5% of water related spinal cord injuries result in incomplete tetraplegia.


Other causes

These are injuries sustained from various causes including injuries inflicted from an assault, other accidents involving machinery etc.



4% of injuries from football, predominantly rugby.

4% of injuries came from falling or being thrown from a horse, or falling from a horse-drawn cart.


Hit by an object

People hit by heavy falling objects, most commonly tree branches.

75% of people hit by heavy falling objects were male.


Source: AIHW: Tovell A 2020. Spinal cord injury, Australia, 2016-17. Injury research and statistics series no. 129. Cat. no. INJCAT 209. Canberra:AIHW.

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