If you saw it, it’s burned into your memory. If you didn’t, I don’t think I can adequately describe it to you. Let’s just say that the sight of Louisville guard, and former Rockdale high-schooler, Kevin Ware breaking his leg during the regional final of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on Sunday made Joe Theismann—a quarterback whose career was infamously ended by a gruesome knee injury—“sick to my stomach,” as he told NBC’s Today Show.
Lunging forward in an attempt to block a Duke three-pointer, the Louisville sophomore turned mid-air, landing solely on his right leg, which immediately gave out, the shin splitting almost in half, in one broadcast blink that’s sure to give Theismann’s injury clip a run for all-time most nauseating. Ware fell to the sideline right in front of the Louisville bench, and players and coaches who bore witness were noticeably shaken, many having seen exposed bone. And while Ware himself is recovering, the incident has also stirred strong emotions in a couple of related issues:
First, in reaction to CBS’s immediate slow-motion replay of the injury, The Atlantic Wire posted a story calling into question the network’s ethics in reveling in such a horrific event. And as the Twitter-verse exploded with commentary, more and more bystanders’ curiosities were piqued, driving them to YouTube and Deadspin, and raising the larger dilemma of whether its right for any of us to post or seek out GIFs and clips of this real-life gore-porn.
Second, it rattled the age-old debate about whether schools and/or the NCAA should pay their athletes, or in other words, whether athletes like Ware who are making millions for their schools, their conferences, and the networks and their advertisers are appropriately compensated and/or protected for putting their bodies at such risk—a question raised by Forbes.com, along with others. (According to USA Today, neither Ware nor his family will have to pay a cent to foot the medical bills, which are handled by their insurance and that of the university).
But while the web blusters and pontificates, Ware has been released from the Indianapolis hospital, leg repaired with a metal rod, and he is set on rehabilitation and an eventual return to the sport. He is up and walking and hopes to return home to Georgia to watch his teammates play in the Final Four this weekend.