Buffalo Bills' Everett May Walk Again
Football Player Kevin Everett May Have Better Prognosis Due to Swift Hypothermia Treatment
WebMD News Archive
Sept. 12, 2007 -- Hospitalized Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett
has moved his arms and legs, raising
hopes that he may one day walk
Everett sustained a severe spinal cord injury in Sunday night's game against
the Denver Broncos. Minutes later, Everett got what's called modest or moderate
hypothermia treatment from Andrew Cappuccino, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon for
the Buffalo Bills.
Everett, 25, is being treated in Buffalo at the Millard Fillmore Gates
Circle Hospital, where he had surgery
for his injuries. Everett is awake and asking questions, and he is no longer on
a ventilation (breathing) machine. Everett is being fed through a feeding
tube and is taking medication to try to prevent clots from forming in this
legs, doctors said at a news conference today.
When Everett arrived at the
hospital on Sunday, he couldn't move his arms or legs. Since then, he has been
able to move his legs and ankles, bend his hip, wiggle his toes, and move
some arm muscles.
WebMD spoke with professor Barth Green, MD, FACS, about Everett's
hypothermia treatment. Green chairs the neurosurgery department at the
University of Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital. He's also the president and
co-founder of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, which is part of the
University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine.
Everett's prognosis is "very good," Green tells WebMD. Having talked
with Everett's doctors, Green predicts that Everett will walk again.
"He's got good movement in his arms and legs, and his legs are moving
better than his arms," says Green. "That's wonderful."
Kevin Everett's Treatment
Green explained the hypothermia treatment Everett received on Sunday.
"He received ice-cold saline, which is a salt solution, into the veins
of his arm. That lowered his whole body temperature," Green says.
"This is just a minimal drop in temperature from 98.6 to to 92 degrees
Fahrenheit, for example," Green says. "What this does is just
like putting an ice pack on a bruised arm. It prevents the hemorrhage and
swelling that would occur if you didn't put an ice pack on. It's as simple as
that. So it prevents the spinal cord from self-destructing" after the
initial injury, says Green.
Timing, Temperature Count
The speedy timing of Everett's treatment was "totally, totally
important," says Green. He notes that as far has he knows, Everett was the
first person to get hypothermia treatment so quickly for a spinal cord
He points out that Cappuccino had earlier attended a Miami Project lecture
about hypothermia treatment.
It's crucial that the hypothermia technique not drop the patient's
temperature too low.
"If it drops below 92 [degrees Fahrenheit], patients can develop cardiac
arrhythmias or bleeding problems, so you don't want it to get too cold,"
Green says. "That's why it's called modest or moderate hypothermia, rather
than profound hypothermia."
Doctors also gave Everett
hypothermia treatment at the hospital.