Traumatic injury to the spinal cord typically happens in motor or sporting accidents or in acts of violence. SCI causes loss of neurons and other cells at the injury site. It also typically causes a break in many of the communication fibres ("axons") that run up and down the spinal cord.
The spinal cord is capable of only limited spontaneous repair: dead neurons are not replaced and injured axons don't regrow back to their original targets.
New therapies for nervous system repair are badly needed.