Spinal cord injuries

Many people who have an accident and break their back, never walk again. Your spinal cord is inside your backbone. It sends messages to your brain. It is part of your nervous system which controls your movements.

In New Zealand, we have about one new spinal cord injury every 5 days. The Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland is trying to find a cure for spinal cord injuries.

A group of 30 New Zealand runners is planning to run the New York marathon to raise money for spinal cord research. They are called the CatWalk team. They want sponsors to donate money for this research.

The New York marathon is on Sunday, November 4th. About 50,000 runners take part in the race. Right now, Hurricane Sandy has hit New York. The city has closed down. Underground trains and buses are not running, businesses have closed, and people are staying indoors where they hope they are safe. Will the city be back to normal for the marathon on Sunday?


• spinal cord – it is inside the spinal column, inside the vertebrae (back bone).
• research – scientific study to find answers to problems
• cure – make sick people healthy again; mend the spinal cord so that people in wheelchairs can walk again
• sponsor – a person or organisation which gives money to help
• donate – give money
• marathon – 42km race
• normal – usual; back to normal is an idiom
• hurricane – a tropical cyclone with heavy rain and strong wind


• The city has closed down – present perfect tense to show this began in the past and continues right now.
• Most of this text is in the present simple – the “timeless” present used for things that are true. There are 7 examples in the first paragraph.


1. What do you know about hurricanes?
2. Do you know of any success stories about people with spinal cord injuries?
3. The CatWalk team say they are running so that others can walk. What does this mean?

One Comments

  1. I didn’t believe that America lost billions by hurricane sandy .It is more terrible that I thought before.I have never heard people are successful with spinal cord injury, but I agree with what the catwalk team is doing now.They are encouraging spinal patients to try to stand up again.Even if they could not, they could be confident with their life again .

Leave a Reply