This is the headline right off of MSNBC, because I couldn’t put it better myself.

For those of you that are not familiar with this story, Tight End Kevin Everett was paralyzed from the neck down during a tackle in the Denver-Bills game on Sunday. Witnesses state that after the tackle, he just dropped to the field face down and never moved.

When I saw the story, my heart sank. I don’t follow the Bills (I had to suffer through 2 years of them when I lived in Rochester, NY) and I didn’t know anything or ever heard of Kevin Everett. However, to hear about an athlete cut down in his prime with a life threatening injury that at best will land him in a wheelchair with only the use of his head, is devastating.

The news this morning seems almost miracualous, if his physicians are correct. It seems that Everett is moving his arms and legs and has sensation. Talk of him walking has replaced the bleak announcements at the beginning of the week.

Evidently, a new treatment to immediately cool the body with cool saline solution was begun minutes after his injury by the teams orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Andrew Cappucino. The treatment has been developed in Miami at the University of Miami school of medicine.

Dr. Barth Green, chairman of the department of neurological surgery at the University of Miami school of medicine. [stated]:

“It’s totally spectacular, totally unexpected,�? Green told The Associated Press by telephone from Miami.

Green said he’s been consulting with doctors in Buffalo since Everett sustained a life-threatening spinal cord injury Sunday after ducking his head while tackling the Denver Broncos’ Domenik Hixon during the second-half kickoff of the Bills’ season opener.

Bills owner Ralph Wilson said the team has been in contact from the beginning with Green and the Miami Project, the university’s neurological center that specializes in spinal cord injuries and paralysis.

Everett’s agent, Brian Overstreet, also said Everett’s mother told him the player moved his arms and legs when awakened from a deeply sedated sleep.

“I don’t know if I would call it a miracle. I would call it a spectacular example of what people can do,�? Green said. “To me, it’s like putting the first man on the moon or splitting the atom. We’ve shown that if the right treatment is given to people who have a catastrophic injury that they could walk away from it.�?

Green said the key was the quick action taken by Cappuccino to run an ice-cold saline solution through Everett’s system that put the player in a hypothermic state. Doctors at the Miami Project have demonstrated in their laboratories that such action significantly decreases the damage to the spinal cord due to swelling and movement.

“We’ve been doing a protocol on humans and having similar experiences for many months now,�? Green said. “But this is the first time I’m aware of that the doctor was with the patient when he was injured and the hypothermia was started within minutes of the injury. We know the earlier it’s started, the better.�?

Let’s hope that he continues to recover and perhaps the celebrity of his injury and recovery can give hope to the thousands of people with neck and spinal injuries every year. Ironically, the Bills owner Ralph Wilson is one of the Miami Center’s biggest donors.

MSNBC story here.
Link to the Miami Project here.