FanDuel - WFBC

September 10, 2007

Bills' Everett Injures Spine Making Tackle: Buffalo Bills reserve tight end Kevin Everett suffered a cervical spine injury making a tackle on a kickoff return in Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos. He showed no movement as he was taken off the field after being knocked unconscious on the head-first hit, and in emergency surgery Sunday night, doctors removed his third and fourth vertebrae. A preseason profile describes the former third round pick, now 25, who has been sidelined with injuries most of his NFL career.

posted by rcade to football at 09:42 AM - 41 comments

I was at the game, and this (more than the Bills finding a way to lose the game) was all I could think about after it happened. The result of the game didn't matter, and the entire game atmosphere became subdued. Even though you hope for the best when you see something like this, I just had that sick feeling in my stomach this was extremely serious. I feel so bad for Everett because everything I read about him points to how he loves the game of football and wants to be able to play. Injuries have cost him the majority of his first two seasons in the NFL, and now it may cost him his ability to move and live a normal life. So unbelievably sad.

posted by dyams at 10:31 AM on September 10

I don't know if any of you feel the same as I do in times like this, but I have offered a few prayers. Will you join me?

posted by Howard_T at 10:32 AM on September 10

I live in Illinois near Chicago so I didn't see the play live, but when Fox replayed it during the game I was watching the first thing that came to mind was the Jets game back in 92 against the Chiefs I think. That play reminded me so much of the play that Dennis Byrd got hurt on in the sense that no one did anything against the rules, but just bad luck. The only thing that I see wrong with the play is that he put his head down going in on the tackle.When I played ball in school coach always demanded that we keep our heads up and on a "swivel" because you never know where the next hit is coming from. Now don't get me wrong I'm not saying he is a bad player because of this because I see players "lead" with thier helmets all the time and I think he was just trying to make a play for his team and for a second had some of the worst luck anyone can have,but how many more injurys like this can the NFL have before they go to the coaching staffs and tell them that they need to reteach the basics. Indeed my thoughts are with him and his family because the way it sounds this morning,they need all the help they can get.

posted by jda at 11:48 AM on September 10

When something like this happens it seems to make all the stuff about Vick, Pac-man and Ankiel seem almost trival. My thoughts, heart and prayers go out to the Everett family. May God Bless them.

posted by skeet0311 at 12:51 PM on September 10

I'm with you Howard T.

posted by cordlesskent at 12:52 PM on September 10

USA Today was reporting at around 10:30 am eastern that a full recovery was unlikely.

posted by kyrilmitch_76 at 04:53 PM on September 10

I know my thoughts and prayers are with Kevin and his family. Let's all hope for a full recovery and normal life.

posted by tommytrump at 06:38 PM on September 10

From AP wire: "Everett is currently under forced sedation and breathing through a respirator as doctors wait for the swelling to lessen. During the operation, Cappuccino repaired a break between the third and fourth vertebrae and also alleviated the pressure on the spinal cord. Doctors made a bone graft and inserted a plate and four screws." Me too Howard T.

posted by irunfromclones at 06:43 PM on September 10

The poor guy's not even out of the woods with regards to even living through this horrible injury yet. They won't be giving any further substantial updates for 2 days possibly. He could use all the prayers he can get. He's got mine.

posted by dyams at 08:43 PM on September 10

my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family . For all of you out there who believe in miracles as I do. Tonight get down on your needs whereever you are and pray for this man to have a successful recovery. We should focuss our prayers on him having a productive, meaningful, happy life and not worry if he plays football again. p.s. I hope that Everett will not have any problems with the league regarding his health conditions. The NFL needs to step up to the plate and make sure this man gets everything he needs to have a successful recovery. Everett gave this league everything he had , he literally left it all out on the field. He and his family should never have to worry about the cost of it all. The league needs to step up and take care of it all.

posted by bigpoppav at 02:17 AM on September 11

The poor guy's not even out of the woods with regards to even living through this horrible injury yet. No kidding. The phrase we learned in EMT training was, "Above C4, breathe no more." A lot depends on how much the spinal cord was damaged in the break between the third and fourth vertebrae. I'm given to understand that in the near term after spinal trauma, swelling can cause impingement, which can cause a paralysis that goes away (at least partly) once the swelling goes down...so, keep hoping and praying.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:13 AM on September 11

As a T-5 para I really hate when I hear stories like this. I know just how difficult life will be for him and his family. I hope the docs were able to flood him with steroids soon enough (to reduce the swelling) and retrieve as much sensatiion as possible. Miracles or no recovering from the damage caused will be a long life changing process. Geez this shit sucks (no im not bitter) but my thoughts and prayers go out to him and all who know and love him.

posted by Folkways at 09:55 AM on September 11

I love football (college especially), but there are times I get wobbly over the sport because of the physical toll it exerts. I don't know that it's defensible to patronize a sport where injuries like this one are a foreseeable consequence of the game. I'd never support boxing.

posted by rcade at 10:22 AM on September 11

Unfortunate and very sad. I hope he can recover from what doctors have called a catastophic and life threating spinal cord injury. I guess its just a reminder that in an instant something can happen that can change your life forever or end it altogether. All we can do is be strong, live our lives and be thankful for the good stuff. I try to remember that really bad stuff happens all the time. It makes it easier to be grateful for what we consider normal every day life no matter how mundane it may seem at times. When I read a story like this, I find it hard to complain about anything.

posted by Atheist at 11:57 AM on September 11

I love football (college especially), but there are times I get wobbly over the sport because of the physical toll it exerts. I don't know that it's defensible to patronize a sport where injuries like this one are a foreseeable consequence of the game. I'd never support boxing. I hear ya, rcade, and in part I share your discomfort. At the same time, I think there's a difference between "forseeable consequences" that happen as a result of bad rules, dirty play, or insufficient safety equipment, and ones that happen as a result of running yourself headfirst into something solid. The latter is incidental to football, it's not the goal of the game, whereas punching your opponent in the head as hard as you can is a goal in boxing. There are sports where the forces and/or speeds involved result in serious injury even when sensible rules are scrupulously enforced and safety gear is used properly. To some extent, as spectators we should get that wobby feeling when we contribute to a money machine that provides incentive for athletes to do risky things. On the other hand, there is proof positive that even when such incentives do not exist, people still do this stuff. Elite level alpine ski racing, another sport where people have been known to die, never used to pay anything and still doesn't pay peanuts compared to the NFL, and yet there's never been a shortage of people who wanted to take a shot at it. So, I understand the wobbly feeling, but I think there's a difference between football and boxing. Some won't consider it a significant difference, but it's there.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:07 PM on September 11

Well said LLB. I can watch football, but not boxing, especially the cage or contender variety. Incidental injury is far different than deliberately trying to knock someone out. Too much like the Roman Circus. Just saw the news that the docs don't think Everett will even walk again. A life completely changed in a heartbeat.

posted by irunfromclones at 05:09 PM on September 11

Not to take away from the focus of this thread, but football isn't the only professional sport where players risk permanent or even fatal injury. I'm sure all of us are aware of some of the dreadful injuries suffered by athletes in many different sports. Any time you suit up to play, you do so with the knowledge that you might get injured - which is part of why players take training so seriously. The more focused your mind and body are, the less of a chance that you or your teammates will get injured. The thing that gets me here is that Everett (and everyone else on the field during that particular play as near as I can tell) did everything right - in terms trying to play with as much regard to safety as possible. You can prepare as much as you want, but you never know when that one bad angle, or one poorly placed foot, or one twist is going to result in your career being over. Yeah, we all know this, but I think a lot of people forget that this is part of why they get paid what they get paid. They bring a lot of genuine pleasure to a lot of people at great personal risk. I'll try to remember Everett the next time somebody complains that football players are overpaid. Anyhow, positive thoughts to him, his family, his friends and his teammates.

posted by Joey Michaels at 05:26 PM on September 11

According to reports on TSN's SportsCentre at 6:30 Tuesday, doctors are reporting Kevin Everett making voluntary movements of both his arms and legs today, a vast improvement of his condition from yesterday, and he may well walk out of the hospital. One of the doctors described this as a minor miracle.

posted by tommytrump at 05:36 PM on September 11

Doctors are wrong all the time, Tommy. That reminds me of when Richard Hammond of BBC's "Top Gear" had his big accident last year. He was expected to not live through the night and even if he did the prognosis was he'd have suffered extensive brain damage. Ultimately he made a full recovery and the only lasting effects are his memory has improved, and he now likes celery. (Seriously.) My father told me the other day that he'd been told he had 5 years to live by his doctor. That was 11 years ago. It all depends on the person. The one thing working in Everett's favour is the fact that he'll be extremely fit because of his profession.

posted by Drood at 06:14 PM on September 11

It is called practising medicine, not perfect medicine. Terrific news though, if it holds up, and I'm sure we all hope it does. About your father and the doctor, the last time I was at the Doctor's office, he told me I only had a week to live, but he was supposed to have given me that prognosis a month before, so what the hell!

posted by tommytrump at 06:36 PM on September 11

About your father and the doctor, the last time I was at the Doctor's office, he told me I only had a week to live, but he was supposed to have given me that prognosis a month before, so what the hell! So what'd you say? "Dude, I'm glad you're late"? Glad yer still with us, tommyt.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:38 PM on September 11

The thing that gets me here is that Everett (and everyone else on the field during that particular play as near as I can tell) did everything right - in terms trying to play with as much regard to safety as possible Whether by intent or by accident, he made the tackle head first. Spearing is dangerous. I know it's commonplace anyway, but your characterization that this was a safe play doesn't compute. Tonight's news is incredible. Earlier headlines today from the same doctors said he was unlikely to walk again.

posted by rcade at 08:58 PM on September 11

About your father and the doctor, the last time I was at the Doctor's office, he told me I only had a week to live, but he was supposed to have given me that prognosis a month before, so what the hell! So what'd you say? "Dude, I'm glad you're late"? Glad yer still with us, tommyt. What did I say? I said "keep up the good work, and next time you figure I only have a week to live, don't tell me for at least a year." Try the veal. I'll be here all week, and don't forget to tip your waitress.

posted by tommytrump at 10:01 PM on September 11

Voluntary movement of his arms and legs is huge. It totally changes the prognosis (I'm told). He has a good chance of walking again, apparently. With respect to injuries, I think that you can find an element of danger in most sports. I remember being a kid and my parents not being interesting in me playing rugby because of the violence - but I would ski - and people freaking die skiing. While doing it for recreation, let alone competition. There is no protection possible for injuries of the type suffered by Everett. No rule changes, or equipment changes are really going to solve that problem. Just like there's no possible way to secure an airport. Not unless you change the very thing itself.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:44 PM on September 11

Here is an article with some of the reasons they think why Mr. Everett may make a full recovery. Tommy hit the nail on the head, it is "The practice of medicine" that may keep Everett out of a w/c for the rest of his life. It seems he was lucky enough to have a doctor on hand that is working with some new protocols in dealing with spinal cord injuries, called the Miami Project. Good thing the Bills owner is a big contributor to the Miami Project, and had one of their doctors on staff. but I think a lot of people forget that this is part of why they get paid what they get paid. They bring a lot of genuine pleasure to a lot of people at great personal risk. I always thought they were paid what they were due to the few who could actually do the job. Fire jugglers bring joy to people at personal risk, but are not paid as much as an NFL player. Stuntmen, acrobats, and even these idiots can be amusing, but still not paid as much as an NFL player.

posted by jojomfd1 at 12:20 AM on September 12

The Miami Project was actually started by Hall of Fame Dolphins linebacker Nick Buoniconti after his son Marc was paralyzed during a football game.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:14 AM on September 12

You know a lot can also be said for those that "packaged" Everett up for that trip off of the field to the hospital. It is not exactly the easiest thing to hold anybody's head completely still, and their nose in perfect alignment with their belly button while backboarding them. Much less having to do it while that person is wearing football pads. I have never done it in front of that many people before(NFL crowd), but I imagine that doesn't help either.

posted by jojomfd1 at 05:59 AM on September 12

Taking a full face helmet (fotball, motorcycle) off a person with a neck injury is always tough. Seeing as I am not the only ex-EMT here I guess some of you already knew that. Well, what jojo said. Thanks TBH you beat me to the Miami Project web site, saved me some work.

posted by Folkways at 07:37 AM on September 12

That cold saline flush treatment is fascinating stuff! I'm going to read some more on this. As awful as the injury is (and as strong the likelihood is that Everett is going to have some loss of function), this could be one of those celebrity injuries that results in benefit to many others, if this treatment were to become more widely available for spinal cord injuries. On a side note, hearing this on the morning news gave a big lift to my day. Spinal cord injury used to mean permanent damage and that's all there is to say...but then, a lot of things aren't what they used to be. Traumatic amputation used to mean you lost a body part, every single time. Diagnosis of certain diseases used to mean a death sentence. It really lifts my spirits when somebody manages to rewrite the rules on one of these formerly absolute outcomes.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:37 AM on September 12

I feel a little bit cynical about how this played out. A very grave diagnosis, followed immediately by a surprisingly promising one with all credit given to this new experimental medical treatment that the Bills and the doctor happen to sponsor.

posted by bperk at 10:39 AM on September 12

So...what, bperk? Do you think that the "very grave diagnosis" was bullshit, and they knew all along that the new experimental medical technique would yield great results? Or do you think that they paid Elliot to spear so that he'd get a c-spine injury so that they could ballyhoo the new experimental medical treatment? What's the cynic's scenario that isn't more far-fetched than what appears to be the case? If you hear hoofbeats, look for horses, and all that.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:46 AM on September 12

So...what, bperk? Do you think that the "very grave diagnosis" was bullshit, and they knew all along that the new experimental medical technique would yield great results? I don't know about bullshit, but I think they may have played up the grave diagnosis and the amount of the much better prognosis that is attributable to the experimental technique.

posted by bperk at 10:56 AM on September 12

Eh, I dunno, bperk. I don't think you can really "play up" a break between C3 and C4. That location is about as bad as it gets for a c-spine injury, you just can't tell the full extent of the injury right away, and Elliot reported didn't have sensation or motion below the chest, IIRC. As far as playing up how much of the better prognosis is attributable to the experimental technique, that is obviously something that cannot be quantified in a way that would satisfy a dedicated cynic. From what little I have read, the treatment is not a cure, and no one is promoting it as such. It doesn't fix anything. It is a rapid-response treatment to minimize damage caused by swelling, I believe. In a way, it's a very simple response. People who don't read critically may be reading snippets and saying "miracle cure" and running with it, but I don't think anyone close to the events has said that or tried to give that impression.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:09 AM on September 12

I don't want to clutter up this thread with my cynicism, but reading critically or not, there is no way to escape these sort of comments by the doctors involved. We may be witnessing a minor miracle. Green said the fact that Cappuccino lowered Everett’s temperature to 92 degrees immediately after the injury made a difference in his recovery. He will walk out of the hospital. "It's totally spectacular, totally unexpected," Green said.

posted by bperk at 11:29 AM on September 12

but I think they may have played up the grave diagnosis I can kind of see where you are comming from bperk. I have been wondering why they were giving Everett such a poor chance of recovery, when they have said since the beginning that he has had " touch sensation throughout his body" the whole time. Along with the fact that he could breathe on his own. Those are not the types of things you would expect to see if his cord was damaged severly. However, I am not familiar with the practices, or protocols of the Miami project. That could have a lot to do with those signs/symptoms.

posted by jojomfd1 at 11:37 AM on September 12

I agree with you, bperk, to a point. It could just be that the medical profession, like most others, prefers to underpromise and overdeliver. You're a lot better off preparing somebody for the worst case scenario; if it happens, you're prepared. If it doesn't, anything less than the worst case scenario is reason for relief, if not outright joy. Regardless, if Everett is able to walk out of that hospital, I don't care if it took stem cell research, occult potions that bubbled and smoked like a cauldron full of dry ice, or the worst kind of medical the-sky-is-falling hyperbole. I'll be damn impressed, both with Everett and his medical team.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 11:44 AM on September 12

From what I heard on the radio today, the change in prognosis was not due to any treatment, that is not to say the emeregency procedures and the doctors proper care following the accident weren't excellent. It seems they have discovered that the symptoms were due to swelling around the spinal cord and the damage was only to the vertabrea (bones). The report stated that there little or no damage at all to the spinal cord. Very good news for Everett. I may have just been incredibly lucky to break his neck without damaging the spinal cord.

posted by Atheist at 11:55 AM on September 12

Bravo Dr. Cappuccino, and good luck to Kevin Everett!

posted by scully at 12:48 PM on September 12

What Atheist said. In Buffalo, where they're covering this non-stop, the credit is being given to the team of emergency personnel on hand at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The difference was the care he received immediately following the injury and prior to reaching the hospital. Keeping the temperature of the patient, and the patient's spine down eliminated the horrific swelling usually associated with this type of trauma (from what I hear (I'm not a doctor)). Newscasts said today the new steps taken in these cases were not available when, for instance, Christopher Reeve was injured several years ago, but they claim it may have improved his chances of ultimately having hope of regaining movement much better. I really don't think it has anything to do with "sensationalizing" the story. It's just another case of huge advances in medicine and treatments doing incredible (hopefully) things.

posted by dyams at 07:23 PM on September 12

I have the feeling that the possible scenarios (everything from full paralysis to full recovery) were explained to the media, but the media chose to focus only on the most dire of possibilities, at least until more information began to appear. As I have said on a previous thread, the media will do whatever it can to make money. In a case like this, the media's collective judgement was that the possibility of at least partial paralysis, rather than recovery, would sell a lot more newspapers. Thus, what seems to most of us to be a miraculous recovery is really not unexpected, and it is the result of top-notch medical care by well-trained people. I would also add that with the prayers from SpoFi-er's and others, it's no wonder things turned out this way.

posted by Howard_T at 08:26 PM on September 12

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