Doctor credits quick treatment with Everett's improvement

Sep 12, 2007 - 2:26 AM By Tom Torrisi PA SportsTicker NFL Editor

The dramatic improvement in the condition of Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett over the past 24 hours is a result of immediate and exceptional medical treatment.

That is the opinion of Dr. Peter Ostrow, a neuroscientist and the medical director for WIBV TV in Buffalo.

On Monday, Dr. Andrew Cappuccino, the Bills team orthopedic surgeon, said Everett's chance of walking again are "very slim."

Cappuccino described the situation as "bleak" for Everett, who was injured on the second-half kickoff in Sunday's season opener after colliding with Denver Broncos returner Domenik Hixon.

Twenty-four hours after offering a dire outlook, Cappuccino told Ostrow that Everett has regained voluntary movement of his arms and legs, which first was reported by Ostrow on WIVB Tuesday night.

"Compared to yesterday ... he (Cappuccino) was very pessimistic," Ostrow told PA SportsTicker Tuesday night. "Today he was optimistic, bordering on extremely optimistic.

"His words to me were, 'I think we may be witnessing a minor miracle.' "

Ostrow said such a stunning turnaround in Everett's prognosis can be attributed to two possibilities - not the least was the quick response and treatment of Everett from the minute the injury occurred.

"For the first time ever with an injury like that, they were exactly prepared, trained and practiced on what happened," Ostrow said. "The very best treatment got applied as soon as possible. He hit the hospital and everything was ready to go. The time for damage to accumulate was utterly minimized."

Ostrow said Everett was given steroids and IVs in the ambulance to lower his body temperature, a treatment designed by Dr. Barth A. Green as part of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.

"It's quite a disciplined drill," Ostrow explained. "And they actually practice it, what they call the 'man-down' drill."

Ostrow said cooling Everett's body temperature, which he said is akin to putting an ice pack on the spinal cord, likely minimized the damage to the player's spine.

"We're seeing the benefits of the Miami Project," said Ostrow, while cautioning that no one knows what the outcome will be for Everett.

Ostrow also mentioned that the improvement in Everett simply was a result of "spinal shock" distorting the prognosis.

Using a concussion as a comparison, Ostrow said a spinal rod injury accompanied by spinal shock early on "gives you a distorted picture. ... "Some people tell you you shouldn't even do an assessment in the first 24 hours."

Ostrow also said an MRI scan showed it may have been a recoverable injury. "The results were very good," he said.

Green told ESPN on Tuesday that he expects Everett to walk again, pointing to the treatment as a reason why.

"That would be fantastic," Ostrow said. "I think if it had not been for the treatment to his spinal cord, there would not have been that much more recovery."

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