Sunday, September 09, 2012
Open Letter to Kevin Everett
You don't know me or my family, but our lives are intertwined. You see, five years ago -- on September 9, 2007 -- while you sustained a horrific neck injury in the Buffalo Bills opener against the Denver Broncos, I was sitting in a hospital room awaiting the arrival of my first child. My wife went into labor early that Sunday morning and we settled into a hospital delivery room just before the Bills game started.
Though I was more excited than anything to welcome my baby into the world, I was still a devoted Bills fan and kept peeking at the game on the TV monitor in-between my wife's contractions. We muted the volume, but I was able to follow the action and noticed immediately when you went down to the turf. The swarm of medical personnel and the stretcher indicated the seriousness of your injury. You lying there motionless was in surreal contrast to the activity going on in front of me, with my wife's heavy breathing, contractions, and the baby's constant kicking. I kept hoping and mentally imploring you to tap into some of the positive life force my soon-to-be-born child was feeling and get up or just move a limb.
As the day wore on, my wife's labor intensified, and thoughts of football and your injury receded from my mind. I vaguely recall that the Bills lost the game in the final moments on a field goal (typical Bills loss), but otherwise your injury is all I remember from the game. Eventually, at 9:30pm EST, we welcomed a baby girl into the world. I was tired and my wife was exhausted, but we made it, and were now jubilant, proud parents. At the back of my mind, though, I felt the cruel irony, knowing that while I was holding my wiggling newborn you were lying in another hospital bed a few miles away, insensate and paralyzed. It was a reminder that while we're at our happiest, unfortunate events are occurring elsewhere.
I've followed the reports of your recovery and am thankful that you're able to walk now and are happy with a loving family. I know you've expressed some concern in other published reports that your "story has died out", but I wanted to reassure you -- on this fifth anniversary of your injury and my daughter's birth -- that at least one family will never forget your story.