Louisville Player Has Successful Surgery After Grisly Injury

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 1 2013 10:10 AM

Kevin Ware's Injury Was So Grisly It Left His Coach Talking About Death

165125654
Kevin Ware of the Louisville Cardinals talks with teammate Luke Hancock as Ware is tended to by medical personnel after he injured his leg in the first half against the Duke Blue Devils on Sunday.

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

This morning brings some good news for Kevin Ware, the Louisville basketball player who suffered what everyone seems to agree was one of the most gruesome injuries in college sports history on Sunday (via the Louisville Courier-Journal):

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Ware underwent successful surgery Sunday night to repair the gruesome open fracture of his right tibia he suffered during the Cardinals' 85-63 win over Duke in the Midwest Regional final, and he is expected to remain in Indianapolis until at least Tuesday, U of L announced.
Ware had the bone reset, and a rod was inserted into leg during the operation that lasted about two hours. The wound caused by the bone puncturing through his skin in his lower leg was closed. U of L's late-night release said no timetable for recovery has been set, but the early prognosis from U of L sports medicine director Fred Hina—given right after the game while Ware was in surgery—was that Ware is bound for a lengthy recovery, but the injury is not likely a career-ending one.
Advertisement

As those two paragraphs suggest, the leg injury was truly horrific. It happened right in front of his team's bench during the first half, leaving several of his teammates openly weeping, coach Rick Pitino wiping tears from his eyes, and CBS opting to stop showing the replays of the injury within moments of it happening. Pitino, who got an up-close look at the break, estimated that the bone was sticking "six inches out of his leg." The game was temporarily halted for 10 minutes while medical officials attended to Ware, and players and fans on both sides did their best to process exactly what it was they saw.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Pitino spoke of the incident in the same breath with the deaths of two family members. While he obviously wasn't making a direct comparison between death and the injury, his remarks suggest just how shaken up he was by the whole thing (via the New York Times, which saved this graph until last):

"I think 9/11 and the loss of a child were probably the two most difficult things in my life," said Pitino, who lost an infant son to congenital heart failure in 1987 and his brother-in-law, Billy Minardi, in the 2001 World Trade Center attacks. "This was very traumatic for us to overcome, because we all witnessed it right up close."

It's obviously early, but right now some in the sports world say that Ware could be playing basketball again in a year. That may seem like an eternity for a college student, but it feels closer to a miracle for those who witnessed the gut-wrenching moment live.

WARNING: We've embedded the video of Ware's horrific injury below. As should be clear by now, it's difficult to watch, and isn't recommended for those with weak stomachs. Click at your own risk; it's difficult to un-see.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

This post has been updated with additional information, as well as a little more analysis about Pitino's post-game comments.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Amazon Is Launching a Serious Run at Apple and Samsung

Television

Slim Pickings at the Network TV Bazaar

Three talented actresses in three terrible shows.

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

The Ungodly Horror of Having a Bug Crawl Into Your Ear and Scratch Away at Your Eardrum

We Could Fix Climate Change for Free. Now There’s Just One Thing Holding Us Back.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 7:03 PM Once Again, a Climate Policy Hearing Descends Into Absurdity
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 17 2014 6:53 PM LGBTQ Luminaries Honored With MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Jurisprudence
Sept. 17 2014 4:49 PM Schooling the Supreme Court on Rap Music Is it art or a true threat of violence?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?