Apparent diffusion coefficients (ADC) were measured in a rat spinal cord weight-drop injury model. After sacrifice, the spinal cords were fixed in situ and excised for MR imaging and ADC measurement. Diffusion is anisotropic in normal gray and white matter. There were significant decreases in ADCs measured along the longitudinal axis of the injured cord and increases in ADCs measured transverse to the cord. Injured segments demonstrated reductions in diffusion anisotropy in the white matter. Diffusion was completely isotropic at the epicenter of the weight-drop injury. Significant decreases in longitudinal ADC and increases in transverse ADC were observed in portions of the cord which appeared normal on conventional spin-echo and calculated T2 images. Thus ADC measurement may complement routine imaging for evaluation of spinal cord injury.