Most human spinal cord injuries involve contusions of the spinal cord. Many investigators have long used weight-drop contusion animal models to study the pathophysiology and genetic responses of spinal cord injury. All spinal cord injury therapies tested to date in clinical trial were validated in such models. In recent years, the trend has been towards use of rats for spinal cord injury studies. The MASCIS Impactor is a well-standardized rat spinal cord contusion model that produces very consistent graded spinal cord damage that linearly predicts 24-h lesion volumes, 6-week white matter sparing, and locomotor recovery in rats. All aspects of the model, including anesthesia for male and female rats, age rather than body weight criteria, and arterial blood gases were empirically selected to enhance the consistency of injury.