Not many will forget the heart-stopping moment when Louisville's sophomore guard Kevin Ware suffered a compound fracture to his tibia during Sunday night’s Elite Eight battle with Duke.
Teammates reacted in horror as the 6-foot-2 Ware suffered an open fracture to his leg, which appeared to literally snap in half upon impact. Ware’s freak injury isn’t something sports fans are accustomed to seeing, particularly basketball fans.
“They are extremely rare,” noted Barry Katz CEO of Ektio and expert in Orthopedic Radiology. “You hardly ever see them.”
Katz is the creator and founder of the revolutionary ankle support shoe company Ektio, which showcases a line of basketball shoes designed to eliminate ankle injuries in basketball. While ankle injuries account for more than half of all basketball-related setbacks, Ware’s fracture is highly uncommon on the hardwood.
“You see compound fractures when there’s any type of massive trauma, where it has a massive break in multiple parts,” described Katz. “Skiing or motorcycle accidents or very high speed cases are more prone to this type of injury. It’s not something you typically see on the basketball court.”
While Ware insists he felt more shock than pain, viewers and onlookers could barely watch the frightening scene unfold.
“Basically what happens is that the bone fractures and breaks through the skin,” explained Katz . “That’s what makes it compound. And that’s what happened there. They can set the bones, but there’s a high risk of infection. If he can get through the next couple of weeks without an infection he has cleared the hurdle.”
An Atlanta native, Ware is traveling with the Cardinals for their Final Four matchup with Wichita State in the Georgia Dome. In the aftermath of one of the most horrifying sports injuries in recent memory, the nation has been captivated by Ware’s inspirational plea for this team to ‘just win the game.” Louisville would go on to rout the Blue Devils 85-63 and advance to its second Final Four in as many seasons.
In the wake of such a tragic accident, fans are still trying to uncover exactly how Ware’s non-contact injury was so significant in nature.
“He probably had some underlying problem in the bone,” stated Katz. “A normal bone wouldn’t have reacted that way. Some abnormality in the bone caused it to literally explode.”
Ware’s estimated recovery time is about one-year and he has already publicly stated his intention to make a comeback. Former Louisville running back Michael Bush suffered a similar injury in college and is now in the midst of a successful pro career with the Chicago Bears. Determined to make his way back on the court, Ware doesn’t appear the least bit deterred by the injury.
"Minor setback, for a major comeback,” Ware tweeted on Tuesday.