Blue Valley High School football coach Eric Driskell has irreversible neurological damage following a ruptured brain aneurysm, according to Jayson Neil, a neurosurgeon at Research Medical Center, where Driskell remained on life support Tuesday.
Neil said during a news conference Tuesday at the hospital that Driskell is being kept on life support for the purpose of organ donation.
Driskell, 43, has been in the hospital since Sunday, when he collapsed during an afternoon Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association meeting at a restaurant. Driskell was speaking when he experienced a severe headache.
“He had the most common form presentation of subarachnoid hemorrhage, which is a sudden onset, worst headache of your life,” Neil said. “And he knew something was very wrong.”
Driskell also suffered cardiopulmonary arrest at the restaurant, Neil said, and he received CPR there. He was eventually transferred to Research Medical Center, where doctors discovered the neurological damage upon his arrival.
His wife, Kari, posted on social media Monday that Driskell “needs a miracle.” On Tuesday, she posted another message to her social media accounts. The couple has two daughters.
“I cannot imagine the positive impact and reach my husband has had on so many lives in his 43 years. The texts, messages, posts, tweets, videos, prayers and pictures are overwhelming,” Kari Driskell wrote. “Please continue to pray for us, especially our children, while we are in our most difficult of times.”
Through Neil, the Driskell family requested privacy.
Aneurysms affect approximately six to eight out of every 100,000 people every year, Neil said. Only about 15 percent of those cases are in people younger than 45.
Most are asymptomatic prior to the rupture, though risk factors such as high blood pressure and smoking increase the chances.
The condition is fatal in 40 percent of its patients, and 15 percent die before reaching the hospital, Neil said.
“They’re devastating occurrences,” Neil said. “A lot of the time that’s hard to understand because the patient still looks the same.”
While not mentioning Driskell specifically, Neil added, “One of the most difficult things we communicate to families in neurosurgery is the severity of the disease given the outward appearance.
“Obviously when someone is in a car accident, everybody can see the bruises and things of that nature. But when you have subarachnoid hemorrhage from an aneurysm rupture, there are no outward signs. So it takes a lot of careful discussion to explain to the family what to expect and what has happened (along with) which part of their neurological recovery will occur and which part is unlikely to occur.”