Jonathan*, a 22-year -old man from Utica, NY is playing football with some of his friends in the park. He jumps up in the air to catch the football and is hit by another player. Jonathan flips in midair and feels something pop in his neck as he lands hard on the ground. He does not have any pain, but when he tries to get up, he cannot move his legs or arms. Jonathan is alert and is talking to his friends.

Jonathan’s friends fear that he may have a back injury, neck injury or spinal cord injury.

What should Jonathan’s friends do while waiting for EMT to arrive?

In order to further prevent spinal cord injury:

-Call 911

-Place blanket over Jonathan and make sure no one moves him

-Ensure that the scene around Jonathan is safe and that he is not in any immediate danger

-Don’t move his neck or spine

-If unconscious and not breathing from neck spine injury, give rescue breaths, one every 5 seconds, if unconscious and pulseless then chest compressions 100 x per min while awaiting EMS

*Fictional name, story is written to help others to recognize possible spinal cord injury and to know what to do in the scenario.