According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, an estimated 450,000 people in the U.S. currently live with a spinal cord injury (SCI). Each year, as many as 11,000 spinal cord injuries occur in the U.S. Most of these injuries are caused by trauma to the vertebral column.

The complexity of spinal cord injuries requires the highly specialized skills of an experienced healthcare team. At TIRR Memorial Hermann, we were one of the first facilities in the United States to establish a Spinal Cord Injury Center, and we are nationally recognized for our expertise in the management of all levels of spinal cord injury. We work with persons requiring a ventilator for breathing as well as those patients who are able to wean from the ventilator.

Our team is dedicated to providing expert care for patients with a spinal cord injury. We consider our mission to be accomplished when those with spinal cord injuries are able to achieve a quality of life with increased personal independence, productive functioning and a maximum state of health. As a patient, you will be evaluated by each member of our care team. This team will help develop and coordinate your treatment plan. Based on this treatment plan, you will receive combined therapy equaling three or more hours per day, for five out of seven days a week. In addition, we provide therapy services on the weekend.

Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Center

Physicians monitor patient using an ekoskeletonThe complexity of spinal cord injuries requires highly specialized skills of a healthcare team. TIRR Memorial Hermann was one of the first facilities in the United States to establish a spinal cord injury center and is internationally recognized for its expertise in the management of tetraplegic spinal cord injury patients who require a ventilator for breathing, including patients who are able to wean from the ventilator.

Our team is made up of spinal cord injury specialists, therapists, nurses, case managers and social workers dedicated to expert care of people with a spinal cord injury.

We consider our mission to be accomplished when persons with spinal cord injuries achieve a quality of life with personal independence, productive functioning and maximum state of health.

Learn more about spinal cord injuries by downloading the TIRR Memorial Hermann SCI Patient Manual.

What Treatment Options Are Available for Patients With Spinal Cord Injuries?

Regardless of whether your spinal cord injury resulted from traumatic or non-traumatic means, at TIRR Memorial Hermann, the rehabilitation process remains relatively the same. We focus on providing both adaptive and neuro-recovery rehabilitation strategies to help you heal physically and emotionally.

  • Adaptive rehab teaches patients how to take care of their bodies given their current state of paralysis. The idea is to keep their bodies as healthy as possible while their spinal cord and nerves recover. We also show patients that they can still have a good quality of life even with spinal cord and nerve damage.
  • Neuro-recovery rehab is the process of actively encouraging the spinal cord to create new pathways to restore as much movement as possible to muscles affected by spinal cord injury. This treatment may include everything from electrical stimulation to the use of robotic exoskeletons during therapies. Through stimulating the nervous system to generate new neurological pathways for movement, we have seen encouraging results in the progress of our patients.
  • Prevent secondary complications after spinal cord injury

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Inpatient Rehabilitation is available for the patient needing intensive medical follow up and nursing care. The Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program at TIRR Memorial Hermann maximizes outcomes by providing:

  • Comprehensive interdisciplinary care from a team of dedicated physicians, therapists, nurses, case managers and social workers, chaplaincy and neuropsychologists 
  • Patient rooms, nursing care units and gym space specifically designed and equipped to meet the unique needs of patients with spinal cord injuries
  • Specialized medical management, nursing and therapy in a hospital setting
  • Both individual therapy and group treatment, including weekend therapy sessions
  • Community outings to address each patient’s functional abilities
  • In-house urology consultations and urodynamics studies
  • Spasticity management (including nerve blocks and Baclofen® pumps)
  • Male fertility clinic
  • OB-GYN services
  • Education classes for families and patients
  • Physical, occupational, speech, music and recreational therapy
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Wheelchair seating and durable medical equipment services

We also offer a robust peer support network for patients with spinal cord injuries called TIRR Peers. These former patients have also gone through the same struggles with rehabilitation and are now living their lives. They are able to connect with our current patients on a deeper emotional level to help them start a new life filled with possibilities.

Outpatient Rehabilitation

Recovery from spinal cord injury does not end when you are transitioned from the inpatient program, it continues long after you return home.

The Outpatient Rehabilitation programs allow patients and their families to transition from the hospital setting to home while continuing to receive intense therapy services (physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology). Counseling, education and individualized training also prepare families and caregivers for each patient’s transition.

Outpatient Medical Clinic

TIRR provides a physician follow-up and procedural clinics for patients prior and post discharge from TIRR. These clinics include physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) follow-up clinics, spasticity management, medication management, primary care, urology clinics and procedures and gynecology clinics and procedures.

Strength Unlimited

Strength Unlimited is a community-based wellness program for children and adults. The program offers advanced equipment, personal training, group fitness classes, aquatic therapy, support groups and special exercise programs for many different individuals, including those with spinal cord injuries.

Strength Unlimited goes beyond standard clinics offering only physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology. We consider wellness a journey that never stops. Our fitness trainers serve as wellness coaches for individuals with disabilities. They have specialty certifications and training to offer a holistic approach and connect patients with the right resources if needed. The program is open to the community, offering patients continued help in achieving their mobility goals and the opportunity to stay active in hobbies and sports.

 
Wheelchair to Car Transfer

Why Is Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Important?

According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), SCI costs the nation an estimated $9.7 billion each year. Pressure sores, areas of damaged skin caused by remaining in the same position for too long, are a common secondary condition among people with SCI – total costs for treating this condition alone run an estimated $1.2 billion.

At TIRR Memorial Hermann, we treat over 300 spinal cord injury patients a year at our in-patient facilities, as well as a significant outpatient population receiving ongoing therapy. Our patients benefit from and prefer TIRR for their primary care because of our experience with handling patients who are differently abled, and because we get to know them as people, not just patients.

What Results Should You Expect From Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation?

TIRR Memorial Hermann is recognized among the leading rehabilitation hospitals in the country. U.S. News & World Report has named us among “Americas Best Hospitals” annually since the survey began in 1990. Our reputation is based on more than 50 years of experience in rehabilitation and research, the high caliber of our affiliated physicians and clinical staff, and our comprehensive programs and services.

What makes us truly stand out from other rehabilitation centers both nationally and internationally is our focus on community reentry. We believe that in order for patients to learn to live with their SCI diagnoses, our treatments must extend beyond the confines of our clinic. That is why we schedule regular outings into the community, as well as adaptive recreational opportunities such as hunting and playing sports. This allows our patients to get a realistic feel for what it is like to live their lives after spinal cord injury.

Our SCI program is a comprehensive rehabilitation program with one of the highest case mix indexes in the country. This means we care for some of the most medically complex patients in the US. We also have a high rate of success with respect to returning patients to their local communities. In 2017, the average length of stay (LOS) for spinal cord injury patients was only 29 days. Additionally, 76 percent of our patients were able to return home or to a place in the community.

For more information and statistics, view the Spinal Cord Injury Fact Sheet (Español).

Patient Stories

  • Anthony Antwine using a walker as he regains mobility

    Anthony: Taking a Victory Lap

    September 18, 2020

    A spinal cord injury that started as a tingling sensation in his fingers quickly developed into numbness and immobility in his legs. After diagnosis and rehabilitation with Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital - Katy, Anthony has returned home and is walking again.

    Read More
  • Tato Stanley on horse

    Tato Stanley Makes a Statistically Improbable Recovery

    August 22, 2016

    At the end of a family vacation in Snowmass, Colorado, 17-year-old Clay “Tato” Stanley was seriously injured in a snowboarding accident. “They were doing jumps, and Tato lost control on the landing and was immediately paralyzed,” Tato’s mother, Alice Stanley says. Ta...

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  • Daquan Minor

    Daquan Minor: The Determination to Win

    August 31, 2015

    Eighteen-year-old Daquan Minor, who suffered a fractured skull and a T-6 incomplete spinal cord injury in an auto accident in February 2013. Two years later, he was a key contributor to the 2015 TIRR Memorial Hermann junior Hotwheels win of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association’s Nationa...

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  • Jason Roy

    Jason Roy: From Zero to a Hundred

    August 31, 2015

    As a child, Jason Roy wanted to be a baseball player or a police officer. He initially gravitated towards sports, but then shifted gears and joined the Houston Police Department as an officer. Roy, by then a five-year veteran of the department, flipped his squad car several times during a high-sp...

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  • Braxton Taylor

    Braxton Taylor: From Total Assist to Independence

    October 24, 2014

    When 20-year-old Braxton Taylor arrived at TIRR Memorial Hermann in August 2013, he was unable to walk, transfer, eat or manage other activities of daily living without total assistance. When he was discharged on Halloween, he could walk with assistance and was independent in most aspects of dail...

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  • Wes Brown

    Wes Brown: Back on the Road Again

    October 22, 2014

    Wes Brown was hauling a load of saltwater from an oilfield in East Texas to a nearby disposal site when the tires on the rear axle of his 18-wheeler hit a pothole and bounced onto the shoulder of the road. As he tried to center his trailer, the steer tire on the passenger side hit another pothole...

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  • Meena Outlaw

    Meena Outlaw: Spinal Cord Injury and Pregnancy

    June 12, 2014

    Meena Dhanjal Outlaw was injured on January 23, 2000, after she stepped onto the balcony of her newly built home and was locked out of her house. Concerned about the safety of her 3-week-old son, Miles, and 3-year-old daughter, Jasmine, she attempted to climb down from the balcony. She ended up f...

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  • Saleh in wheelchair

    Saleh Alzahrani: Rehabilitation After Cancer

    June 11, 2014

    Saleh Alzahrani was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 12. He underwent a successful surgery to remove a brain stem tumor and then went back to his daily life. At the age of 25, Alzahrani learned that his cancer had returned and another operation was required to remove a tumor, which was located...

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  • Rodney Janczak

    Rodney Janczak: 25 Years Later

    April 12, 2013

    Rodney Janczak took his first helicopter ride on July 3, 1987, when he was nine years old. Following an automobile accident in a suburban area of northwest Houston, he was flown by Memorial Hermann Life Flight to the Red Duke Trauma Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, formerly kno...

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  • Dan Hammers

    Dan Hammers: Infertility in SCI

    March 25, 2013

    In June 2012, Dan Hammers marked the 20th anniversary of an accident that changed his life. At the age of 19, he dove off a 10-foot building into a pool containing 4 feet of water. Hammers, who is a C4 quadriplegic, considers himself better off for the experience. In 2009, after seven years of ma...

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  • Kevin Everett

    After Being Paralyzed During an NFL Game, Kevin Everett is Standing Tall

    December 23, 2012

    When Buffalo Bills’ football player Kevin Everett arrived at TIRR Memorial Hermann in September 2007 after suffering spinal cord injury on the field, he was paralyzed from the neck down. After months of aggressive therapy led by a group of physicians, physical therapists and occupational th...

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  • Read about Lexie Pediatric Spinal Cord Injury

    Lexie's Story: Pediatric Spinal Cord Injury

    December 23, 2012

    Eleven-year-old Lexie Bolds was having fun visiting a friend in Jasper, Texas, when she was involved in an accident that left her with a broken neck and arm. She injured vertebrae C2-C4 and injured her spinal cord at C4. Rushed to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center by Life Flight® helicopt...

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Peter Berry

Peter Berry: Life and Basketball


With great determination and skill, and the support of his family, Houstonians, care teams and his coach, Trice Hamm, Berry has become a powerhouse on the basketball court.

Read the Story

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For the 31st consecutive year, TIRR Memorial Hermann is recognized as the best rehabilitation hospital in Texas and No. 3 in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report's "Best Rehabilitation Hospitals" in America.

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