Not so very long ago, injuring your spinal cord meant paralysis, perhaps death. The higher the injury, the worse the prognosis. For instance, if your spinal cord was injured in the neck or Cervical region, your chances of recovery were nil. However, injuries in the lower Lumbar had a much greater chance of partial recovery.
Today, however, medical miracles are around every corner, or so they were for the Buffalo Bills football star, Kevin Everett, who injured his cervical spinal cord a few days ago during a heads down tackle.
The initial assessment was grim, as they carried Kevin off the field. However, rapid and aggressive treatment may have saved him. The spinal cord was cooled with intravenous fluids, steroids were administered to decrease inflammation and swelling, and oxygen was given to the oxygen starved nerves within the spinal cord itself.
According to the diagnostic scans, Leon Smith would never be able to reach out with his arms, grasp with his hands or take another step.
But the X-rays and MRIs were completed last August after Smith suffered a devastating injury to his spinal cord. Today, the Los Angeles resident is working toward resuming a normal life after two operations at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center gave him a chance to beat overwhelming odds.
“This is a one-in-a-million case,” said Justin D. Paquette, M.D., neurosurgeon at the Cedars-Sinai Institute for Spinal Disorders. “He was quadriplegic and Ventilator-dependent (unable to breathe on his own). A patient who is in this condition, with persistent spinal cord compression for even 24 hours, has essentially zero chance of recovery. Mr. Smith had been like this for almost a week before he came to Cedars-Sinai.”