Kevin Ware‘s injury during the Duke/Louisville NCAA basketball game was the most horrific sports-related injury I have seen. I cringed and looked away from the TV, but I found myself drawn back to the images of teammates, coaches, trainers, and fans agonizing over the shocking scene before them.
Kevin suffered a compound fracture of his lower leg when he leaped to block a Duke player’s shot and landed awkwardly in front of his bench. His lower leg snapped, and a bone tore through the skin. His reaction to seeing his injury was tragic, but seeing the reaction of his teammates on the bench let me know that most in the arena were seeing something that the mind could not comprehend. Players from both teams fell to the floor, cried, and held each other. Coach Rick Patino’s face was white from the shock of seeing Kevin’s lower leg turn sideways and hang in the air.
Fans in the stands were visibly shaken, and many were crying. They were traumatized. The Louisville trainers were remarkable in the face of this tragedy. They covered his leg so no one could see it, especially Kevin. But for Kevin, those in attendance at the game, and those of us watching on TV, the imprint in our minds had already been burned in.
Mental images of a traumatic injury like this are deeply burned into the mind of the injured athlete. They are also burned into the minds of his teammates, Duke players, coaches, fans, media representatives, cheerleaders, and TV viewers. [Read more…]