For hypothermia to be effective, it needs to be started as soon after the injury as possible, Greer said. Usually, a patient remains cooled for one to two days and then is re-warmed, which takes about half a day.
Using cooling for a spinal injury is a new application of the technique, Greer said. "It has been used in traumatic brain injury for years as a neuro-protective agent," he said. In fact, soldiers who suffer severe traumatic brain injury in Iraq are being treated this way, he added.
"I like to think of hypothermia as a bridge from when the injury occurs to getting a more definitive therapy like decompressing the spine," Greer said.
Once at the hospital, Everett was diagnosed with a potentially fatal fracture/dislocation between the third and fourth cervical vertebrae in the neck. On Sunday night, he underwent emergency decompressive surgery to prevent pinching of the spinal cord.
During the operation, surgeons repaired the break in the vertebrae and also reduced pressure on the spinal cord. They also made a bone graft and inserted a plate, held in place by four screws, and also implanted two small rods, also kept in place with additional screws.
On Monday, Everett's doctors said there was not much hope that he'd make a full recovery. But, on Tuesday, they announced that the tight end could move his arms and legs, and his spinal cord was intact.
Still, his doctors said it's too early to know if Everett will be left with any paralysis or how severe it might be, the Associated Press reported.
"Walking out of this hospital is not a realistic goal, but walking may be," Dr. Andrew Cappuccino, the Bill's orthopedic surgeon, said at a news conference on Wednesday.
Greer said it's not known what role the cooling therapy may have played in Everett's condition. "Who knows if he would
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