More than 17,000 people suffer spinal cord injuries each year, and an estimated 249,000-363,000 Americans are living with spinal cord injuries. A few generations ago, a spinal cord injury was often a death sentence, and almost always meant a much shorter life. Thanks to better medical care and greater awareness, most spinal cord injury sufferers survive, and many go on to live long and healthy lives. Despite these improvements, respiratory issues are common in SCI survivors. Pneumonia is a leading cause of death in this group, often due to complications of respiratory infections and poorly managed airway obstructions. First responders and other providers must be prepared to rapidly respond to airway issues in SCI patients, whether treating the immediate aftermath of a spinal cord injury or providing care to long-term SCI survivors.