In just a few seconds you can go from having it all to nothing. Thats exactly what happened to Buffalo Bills player Kevin Everett. In the opening game of the 2007 NFL season Kevin went helmet to helmet with the Denver Broncos’ Domenik Hixon which left him laying in Ralph Wilson Stadium as a quadriplegic. With a very slim chance of ever walking again Kevin overcomes great odds to regain some of his former health. The story of a journey much tougher than any football game Kevin would ever play.
Kevin had to go through some pretty tough times. He and his wife recently got married and not only are they worried about Kevin’s health but whether or not they will be able to achieve one of their goals of raising a family. It is helpful that Kevin’s orthopedist is an expert with spinal injuries. He is considered one of the best with dealing with these injuries including using newly found tactics at addressing these problems. With only a five percent chance of ever walking again, Dr.Cappuccino decides to use a new use of hypothermia by cooling Kevin’s body to 93.8 degrees. Kevin starts making great progress in his hands. Doing exercises everyday attempting to pick up blocks and kitchen utensils. Kevin pushes himself hard everyday, sometimes even too hard because of his high expectations of himself. He makes great progress everyday but is usually unsatisfied because he is so used to being the elite athlete he once was. Kevin makes positive strides hoping to walk again. Eventually he starts to slowly gain little strength in his body again. The grueling physical therapy he goes through everyday starts to become easier and easier. What once seemed impossible now seems like it may happen… walking again. It’s nothing short of a miracle. He finally is able to walk again. He has to be very careful though as he will never play football again. He still needs a career to support his family so he becomes a physical therapist and and motivator. All in all it works out well for Kevin Everett.
Questions I had at the midpoint were how will his family be affected, will he find a job to support his family, and how will football change because of this injury? These questions were all answered. To will his family be affected I feel it is surprisingly not very much. At the start of his recovery his family was very worried that they would not have him in their lives but he makes a very good recovery. If anything it has brought them closer together. Another question was what he will do now that he cannot play football anymore. I thought he may go back to school but he has found a decent job as a physical therapist so he may go back to college to learn more about it but probably will not really have to. One last question I had was a much bigger question. How will football as a whole be affected because of his injury. Since Kevin’s injury was suffered on a kickoff that was really the area targeted. Since the injury there are new kickoff rules that make the game safer and the NFL has even had discussions on removing the kick off. Also tackling has been addressed as players at all levels are now taught to not lead with their head and there are now harsh punishments for anyone who does so. Overall my questions have been answered to the extent where I was sure of the outcome.
With regards to why the author (Sam Carchidi ) wrote this book I would say because he was inspired by the story. There are tons of obstacles that people must overcome in sports all the time. But this is very different. This is much more than a sports story but a human struggle story. For anyone to overcome being on the brink of being paralyzed is just astounding. So the fact that Kevin Everett was a NFL player just made the story much more interesting. Its also a good story to cover because it happened right around the time when people started questioning the safety of the NFL and football. Football is the most watched sport in our country while it may just be the most controversial. The controversy alone makes it a great subject to cover.
Without a doubt I would recommend this book. The story of human sacrifice and overcoming obstacles create a very strong page turner. Anyone who is a sports fan or is interested in how the NFL is dealing with safety would be very interested to read this book. Its not too long of a book so you will not get bored. Don’t be a fool, read this book!