If you tuned in to watch the highly anticipated men’s basketball matchup between Louisville and Duke, chances are you also witnessed one of the most gruesome sports injuries ever televised.
Sunday’s game began with very little surprise as two very evenly matched teams went back and forth exchanging leads before the unthinkable happened. A viscous injury left sophomore guard Kevin Ware of Louisville writhing in pain after a compound fracture that left his bone protruding from his leg.
The injury was televised as thousands from around the world watched in horror while Ware was being attended to on the court.
“I was in shock like I’m sure all of us were. It’s a freak accident that unless you deal with that sort of stuff on a regular basis, you can never be prepared for it,” said Todd Forsyth, Athletic Director and Head Boys Basketball Coach in Charles City.
For many student athletes, sports injuries can often be devastating, especially when it might mean the loss of a promising career.
“For these athletes, sports means a lot to them and who they are. They work hard for their sports and as parents and coaches we feel for them when these types of situations happen,” says Forsyth.
While the athletes were forced to try and compose themselves in order to finish the game, many still had many questions unanswered.
The debate that many parents are faced with when it comes to sports has always been safety and while we are all concerned about the welfare of our student athletes, experts say, its more about being prepared and less about being worried.
“I think there’s a lot on coaches to prepare kids to play in the safest possible environment by lifting weights, by doing proper stretching, by doing proper warm up. We try to do a lot of different things to save our athletes, or to put them in the best situation possible so those injuries don’t occur,” says Forsyth.
By the final buzzer, Louisville outlasted Duke and went on to win the game and advance to the Final Four where they will meet Wichita State for a chance at a National Championship slot.
After the game players made references to a grieving Ware who despite the shock of the moment, was adamant on making sure the players knew they still had a job to do, and that was win the game.
Louisville coach Rick Pitino was among those shocked at the bravery of Ware to speak to players despite the pain he endured.
Pitino’s message to players during the halftime break, “let’s bring Kevin back to Atlanta, let’s bring him back home.”
The Final Four will be played in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia, Kevin Ware’s hometown.
The Cardinals face Wichita State this Saturday at 6 pm. EST.