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.
The head to head collision compressed the C-3 and C-4 Vertebrae in Everett’s neck, fracturing both vertebrae, damaging the soft cervical disc between them and crushing the front of his spinal cord. The vertebrae literally exploded. No type of helmet could be made to prevent this type of injury without severely limiting motion. To coaches, fans, and family who were watching, the injury was the one most feared. The injury was the same as Christopher Reeves, the actor who died in 2004, 10 years after his spinal cord accident.
Although ‘spearheading’ or using your helmet as a weapon is outlawed, it still occurs. What is remarkable is that with the speed and weight of professional football players, and their multiple contacts over a long period of time, it is a wonder that more spinal cord injuries do not occur
In Kevin’s case, he was fortunate to have one of the best neurosurgeons in America. He was taken to the operating room within 15 minutes of his arrival at the hospital. His vertebrae were fused, and pressure relieved around the spinal cord.
Only yesterday, Kevin had the ability to voluntarily move his own limbs.
The surgeon’s prognosis: He will walk again!
Submitted by Roxanne RN