In a matter of a few seconds, a strong, promising young Buffalo Bills player lay paralyzed and very mortal after a violent collision on the second-half kickoff return during the opening weekend of the 2007 NFL season. Kevin Everett, second-year tight end and special team's player, went helmet-to-helmet with Denver Broncos return man, Domenik Hixon, with all the force a 6'4", 260-pound 25-year-old can muster while running downfield full-bore. Fate was on Kevin's side. Only a few days prior, the medical-training staff had practiced a spinal-cord drill supervised by Dr. Andrew Cappuccino, an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Cappuccino was on the sidelines during this game as a regular member of the Buffalo Bills medical staff, one of the few NFL teams to be so staffed. Cappuccino determined that Everett was quadriplegic, as he lay on the field of Ralph Wilson Stadium. And so began a real-life drill.
With controversial and aggressive medical care, Kevin began a tougher challenge than any Sunday-football warrior faces; he was in a fight for his life and faculties. Dr. Cappuccino employed a daring, debated, but not scientifically proven, hypothermic method of treating Everett's paralysis. Kevin's body temperature was lowered to 93.8 degrees to prevent further damage from neurological swelling. Yet within twelve days, during which Dr. Cappuccino risked his medical career in order to look Kevin in the eye knowing he did everything to help him, Everett was flown to Houston (his home) to begin rehab. Less than a month later he would be walking with assistance.
This remarkable and heart-warming story is not just about a doctor and his patient; it is about the love of a family and a fiance who have been at Everett's side throughout his grueling rehabilitation. It is a story of Kevin's strength of will and his determination to regain his life. There is also an unfinished story of new beginnings and coming to inner peace, as Everett contemplates his rehabilitation, future health, and life after NFL football. This amazing story of recovery begins with Kevin's appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show, where he will tell Oprah's national audience the dramatic saga.