Thursday, September 13, 2007
I've mentioned on here before my interest in spinal cord injuries, as you all know that I compete in an equestrian sport that is considered "high risk." One of our greatest number of human tragedies is spinal cord injury during a fall with or from a horse on the cross-country portion of 3-day eventing. The recent football injury of the Bills' Kevin Everett has saddened me, but has also fascinated me -- both because of his now positive prognosis, as well as the experimental methods they used at the time of the injury and are continuing to use as he stabilizes and recovers. I was really interested in the saline or "cooling" method they used when they injected saline into his spine on Sunday to lower the temperature of his spinal cord and surrounding tissue to help avoid the cord and tissue damaging itself through swelling and bruising. According to Everett's orthopedic surgeon, that method "saved the day" for him. Now, I understand that all injuries are unique, and that might not have been the case for a different injury or a different person, but I still think that trying something like that (it's not radical and it's not sacrificial, so it wouldn't have hurt anything, only helped) is so valuable. I pray all the time for new approaches to assisting spinal cord injured athletes and I find hope and inspiration in these stories of newfound successes in treating those injuries and the improvements in the conditions of the patients.