Unless you’ve been living under a rock, pretty much everyone must be aware that Kevin Everett suffered a severe spinal cord injury this weekend in the Bills game. At first, the prognosis was expectedly grim after an estimated impact force of 2/3 of a ton to Everett’s spine. Now it seems a more positive outcome may be expected.
In listening to some of the interviews, a physician from the Miami Project made a statement that Everett benefited from the earliest application of moderate hypothermia after a spinal cord injury…ever. That is rather profound. From what I can gather as a very outside observer, doctors began lowering Everett’s body temperature in the ambulance and further reduced it once at the hospital by means of an IV catheter.
It is widely understood that cooling tissues reduces the damage cause by inflammation. It is practiced in neurosurgery, with neonates, after sprained ankles, and now with spinal cord injuries.
This image demonstrates the reduction in neural tissue possible with hypothermia treatment. The top two tissue samples were controls, and the bottom sample was cooled to 32 degrees C. The highlighted parts of the image shows areas of tissue death. Pretty amazing!
And, in a big example of "what comes around, goes around," it was reported that the Buffalo Bills owner is a large donor to the Miami Project.
One final note, the Miami Project doctor I cited earlier did upset me with the quote, "…will walk out of the hospital." This is far from a foregone conclusion and seemed a bit overzealous and self-promoting to say that on ESPN. Either way, I’m writing about him.