Doctor: Everett will likely be paralyzed

Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Buffalo Bills team doctor John Marzo, right, and Millard Fillmore Gates hospital orthopedic surgeon Andrew Cappuccino talked to the media at a news conference on the condition of Bills tight end Kevin Everett on Monday at the Ralph Wilson Stadium complex in Orchard Park, N.Y. (DON HEUPEL ~ Associated Press)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills' Kevin Everett sustained a "catastrophic" and life-threatening spinal-cord injury and his chances of regaining a full range of body motion are very small, an orthopedic surgeon said Monday.

"A best-case scenario is full recovery, but not likely," Dr. Andrew Cappuccino said, one day after performing a four-hour operation on the player. "I believe there will be some permanent neurological paralysis. ... A full neurological recovery was bleak, dismal."

Cappuccino noted the 25-year-old reserve tight end did have touch sensation throughout his body and also showed signs of movement. But he cautioned that Everett's injury remained life-threatening, saying the player is still susceptible to blood clots, infection and breathing failure.

Everett is currently under forced sedation and breathing through a respirator as doctors wait for the swelling to lessen. Cappuccino said it will take up to three days to determine the severity of the injury and the recovery process.

During the operation, Cappuccino repaired a break between the third and fourth vertebrae and also alleviated the pressure on the spinal cord. The process included a bone graft and the insertion of a plate and four screws.

Cappuccino said Everett was alert and is aware of the extent of his injuries.

"I was honest with him, and he told me, 'Do everything you can to help me,"' said Cappuccino, who works for the Bills as a consultant, specializing in spinal surgery.

He received permission to operate from Everett's mother, who spoke by phone from her home in Houston.

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