The medical team treating boxer Adonis Stevenson in a Quebec City hospital said Wednesday it is too early to say anything definitive about his prognosis as he continues to receive treatment for a severe traumatic brain injury.
Intensive care specialist Dr. Alexis Turgeon told reporters the 41-year-old fighter remains in stable but critical condition after a knockout loss Saturday night in his WBC light heavyweight title defence against Oleksandr Gvozdyk of Ukraine.
Turgeon said he could not offer an informed opinion on the Montreal boxer’s chances of a full recovery.
“If I had clear answers, I would give them,” Turgeon told reporters at a news conference requested by the family. “The family would like them too. They’re asking the same questions as you.”
Stevenson’s condition deteriorated after he was helped into the dressing room following Saturday’s fight, and he was transported by ambulance to Hopital de l’Enfant-Jesus from the Videotron Centre.
He was admitted with “a traumatic brain injury” that required rapid neurosurgery, the physician said.
He added that Stevenson is under mechanical ventilation, is sedated and requires specialized neurological monitoring.
Turgeon said by the time Stevenson arrived at the emergency room, he wasn’t able to speak.
“His level of consciousness was altered — like someone who was sleeping deeply,” Turgeon said.
“When you have a (traumatic brain injury), you have the first injury and then, over time, in the first minutes and hours after the injury, that’s when the damage starts to progress,” he added. “That’s when your level of consciousness will be altered.”
A neurosurgeon quickly operated to reduce bleeding in the brain.
Turgeon said the next step for Stevenson is to get past the critical phase, which doctors hope can happen by the end of the week.
That will depend on the results of monitoring, further scans and assessment of his condition.
“When we are satisfied with the monitoring and his condition, we will try decrease the sedation and drugs to keep him under controlled sedation,” Turgeon said.
Sedation allows doctors to watch for secondary effects and reduces oxygen consumption in the brain, he said.
“With all the treatment we’re giving him, a person couldn’t tolerate all that without sedation,” Turgeon said.
Turgeon cautioned against using “medically induced coma” to describe Stevenson’s condition, saying the preferred medical term is an “altered level of consciousness.”
Stevenson does have certain factors in his favour.
“He’s a healthy man, in good shape and we didn’t suspect any damage to his brain prior to this injury,” Turgeon said.
But there are likely to be some lasting effects.
“It’s a traumatic brain injury. The majority of people come out of it with after-effects,” the doctor said.
Turgeon said Stevenson’s family members, who are by his bedside, wanted to express thanks for all the messages of support they have received.
He asked that people refrain from reporting medical details that do not come from official sources, because the family is affected by speculation and rumours they read on social media.
The Haitian-born Stevenson is father to five children, including a newborn daughter.
Stevenson’s partner, Simone God, tweeted a message late Tuesday to Stevenson, saying his infant daughter misses him.
“You promised you’ll be back for her after the fight and I know you’ll be back! Love you,” she said.
– By Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal.
The Canadian Press