KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Football hall of famer Nick Buoniconti and his son are raising money and awareness for the Miami Project.
The Project helped Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett when he suffered a spinal cord injury that had doctors saying he might not walk again.
But Everett got treatment that was tied to the Miami Project and is soon expected to leave the hospital on his own two feet. “Everett’s and my injury are exactly the same,” said Marc Buoniconti, who was paralyzed 22 years ago during a 1985 college football game.
But when Everett was carried off in a stretcher, doctors tried Hypothermia therapy developed at the Miami Project. A cold IV was used to lower body temperature to prevent paralysis.
“And what it does is it preserves tissue in the spinal cord, it does not allow inflammation to take place,” Marc Buoniconti said.
He said his mission is to promote a cure for paralysis.
His father, former linebacker Nick Buoniconti, was at the Ameristar National Golf Classic in Parkville this week. The tournament is raising $1.5 million for the Miami Project the father and son helped start.
“When you see a player go down the way Kevin Everett did, you just hope you can do something to help him,” Nick Buoniconti said.
An estimated 11,000 suffer spinal cord injuries every year.
“Most spinal cord injuries happen in car accidents, diving into shallow water, gun shots or falling off a bike,” Marc Buoniconti said.
The treatment Everett got is considered experimental, but it also gets part of the credit for his recovery.
“I’m still in a wheelchair 22 years later, and he’ll walk out of a hospital, and that’s because of the technology and the work of the Miami Project,” Marc Buoniconti told KMBC’s Maria Antonia.