Spinal cord injury hits home with Blue

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:07 AM ET

An NFL player remains in the hospital with a serious spinal cord injury after making a special teams tackle and Winnipeg special teams tacklers certainly took notice.

Buffalo Bills reserve tight end Kevin Everett, 25, may never walk again, according to reports, although doctors were encouraged when he moved his arms and legs yesterday.

"Yeah, I saw the replay two or three times," backup safety Greg Bearman said yesterday.

"But I don't know how he hurt himself. It was looking like a form hit type of thing. It was a smaller returner and he hit him at a 45-degree angle so, I really don't know how that happened. But it's kind of humbling and it makes you feel kind of mortal.

"And they (were) saying he has 5-15% chance to get his mobility back? That's scary, man."

Bearman, 32, had his own brush with a spinal cord injury in college (New Mexico State) before landing in the CFL.

"I had a swollen spinal cord my senior year in college," recalled Bearman, who sat out yesterday's practice nursing a sore rib. "I just kept getting stinger after stinger after stinger. Finally, my spinal cord started to swell and it took about a year to heal. I had to coach for a year -- my fifth year of eligibility -- because I couldn't pass the physical.

"My vertebrae were just sticking out ... I didn't do that much damage to it. It's just that I aggravated it and irritated it so much that .... man, my fingers were tingling for about six months. It was crazy."

Yet, the 5-foot-7, 180-pound Richmond, B.C. native still plays with reckless abandon on Blue Bomber special teams.

"I'm invincible, buddy," he said with a laugh.

Backup linebacker Adrian Baird, another one of the better Bomber special teamers, also sympathized with Everett.

"Yeah, I saw that," Baird said. "They've been showing that a bunch of times. It was pretty rough ... Something like that is very tragic. It's one of those things that you never want to see. But I have confidence in my abilities and I've got to play to that level. But you can't worry about that during the game. You either play 100% or you might as well go home."

But you do have to tackle properly.

"A lot of people were talking about how he dropped his head a little bit and I kind of see that because he was a tight end playing special teams," said the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Ottawa product. "I always try to keep my head up but that hit didn't even look that vicious. But that's the way the game is. It's a pretty brutal game and there are a lot of injuries when you have the ball up.

"It's a little disheartening to see something like that happen but you do what you can. I just try to keep my head up and try to tackle and do my best."

HASHMARKS: The Bombers have released LB Toney Edison ... Although S Kyries Hebert (hamstring) also sat out yesterday, both he and Bearman are expected to play this week ... No NFL cuts are expected in camp this week.


Videos

Photos