Sequential in vivo MRI studies of experimental spinal cord injuries (SCI) were performed using a three-dimensional implementation of the FATE (Fast low-Angle spin echo sequence with short TE) sequence. MRI-observed pathology was quantified using a multispectral segmentation algorithm. Neurological analysis was performed on the same animals concurrently, in addition to end-point histology, for comparison with quantitative MRI results. These studies suggest that it is possible to use MRI to detect the onset of secondary injury in the spinal cord. The data also indicate that early detection of MRI-visible pathology may provide the necessary markers for predicting the long-term level of neurologic deficit.