Monday, September 10, 2007

Kevin Everett: Keep Him in Your Intentions [J. Mark English]

This is from the Buffalo Bills website:

It was eagerly anticipated news when the Bills provided an update on
Kevin Everett Monday afternoon, following his game halting spine injury on the second half kickoff of Sunday's loss to Denver. But the update only gave a clearer picture as to the severity of what is still a potentially lethal injury, and the steps that were taken to give him the greatest chance for recovery.

Everett suffered a fracture dislocation between the third and fourth cervical vertebra. So there was an injury to the cervical spine and cervical spinal cord. But the spinal cord was intact. There was disc material pushing on the cord and bone was applying pressure as well.

"The vertebrae were out of alignment," said team orthopedist Dr. Andrew Cappuccino, who specializes in injuries of the spine. "The vertebrae of the spine line up like box cars of a train. The third cervical vertebra had translocated completely over the front of the fourth cervical vertebra causing a scissoring effect on the spinal cord."

"Emergency decompressive surgery was performed Sunday night to prevent pinching of the spinal cord," said team medical director Dr. John Marzo as part of a Monday afternoon press conference at One Bills Drive.

The surgery was performed by Cappuccino and Dr. Kevin Gibbons at Millard Fillmore Gates Hospital in downtown Buffalo after consent was granted by Everett who was awake and alert along with his mother who was reached by phone. The surgery lasted about four hours as Everett had his third and fourth vertebrae fused together.

"Dr. Gibbons and myself worked first on the front side of the cervical spine to remove the disc, realign the spine and to fixate the spine between the third and fourth vertebrae with a bone graft, with a small cage, and with a plate and four screws," said Cappuccino. "We had the spine in good alignment and it was confirmed on all x-ray studies."...

....According to Cappuccino, Everett remembered the entire play that led to this severe injury. Prior to surgery the team's spinal specialist informed Everett that his chances for a full neurologic recovery were less than five to 10 percent and that surgery was his best alternative but still an option. Everett chose surgery.

"Kevin said, 'Do everything that you can to help me with this,'" said Cappuccino.

Comment -

When things like this happen in sports your reminded that football is only a game, and that there are so many more important things in life. All you can do is pray for the recovery of Everett and that one day he will be able to walk again.

These guys are paid millions of dollars for a reason. They do things that most people aren't willing to put themselves through. Although, they are not fighting over in Iraq and putting their lives on the line in defense of our country, they are sacrificing their bodies in a way to provide us fans with entertainment. (I'm just trying to put in perspective the idea heroes are fighting in overseas, not playing a children's game...)

It is easy to forget the clear and present dangers that are associated with football. It is why Tiki Barber thanks his lucky stars for being able to retire on his own terms, and not after a catastrophic injury. Hopefully, Everett will be able to recover. During these next few days be sure to keep him in your intentions.

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