Sports Opinion & Analysis

Kevin Ware Is One Lucky Dude

In College on April 2, 2013 at 6:47 am

By Jeff Gibson

I’m not sure why I’m so interested in the gruesome leg injury sophomore guard Kevin Ware suffered in the Louisville vs. Duke game this weekend.

Louisville guard Kevin Ware after suffering a broken tibia. Photo courtesy us magazine.com.

All I know is that I’m not the only one: Articles mentioning Ware among similarly gruesome injuries in sports history are popping up all over the internet. It was more popular on Twitter than people making fun of Lindsay Lohan demanding prescription pills in her latest rehab stint.

Some fans want to see Ware’s leg snap in half from every angle. Others were happy with the quick, long distance replays CBS chose to give its viewing public. Others turned away, not wanting that image stuck in their memory.

The Louisville bench reaction. Courtesy fansided.com

I’m not going to discuss what makes fans watch these gruesome injuries. Every fan has her own reasons. What I’m more concerned about is why we are supposed to feel bad for Ware, or other athletes who’ve gone through similar highlight reel injuries.

Why do we gossip in such high numbers for the gruesome, but ultimately less significant, injuries than the slowly accumulating ones that lead to brain damage and diseases like dementia, Alzheimers, etc? Injuries that not only affect the athletes living with the repercussions of their sport later in life, but also the other people it affects: the spouses they beat, the children they abuse, all swept under the rug by the media because who Tweets about retired athletes with diseases? Especially when you could post the top ten most gruesome sports injuries of all time. I bet I know which would get more hits.

It’s that same argument I’ve heard over and over again. Just with different sports. The argument that fans only watch NASCAR to see the crashes. Or hockey to witness the fights. Baseball for the brawls. Why do you think MMA is so popular? Are you not entertained?

But I haven’t heard this argument with basketball. It’s supposed to be the safest major American sport. Minus the ACL tears, or the eyeballs popping out, getting scratched or rolling an ankle are about the worst thing that could happen to a player. You don’t have players trying to hurt each other, like in football, even baseball. And that’s what leads me to an opinion I haven’t come across yet.

Kevin Ware did this to himself. No one pushed him. No one landed on his ankle, forcing it to break. No one tackled him low.

Ware jumped to block a shot. Was never touched on the play. He landed awkwardly on his own accord. So, once again, why am I supposed to feel bad for Ware?

Louisville players’ reaction. Photo courtesy msnbc.com.

Yeah. I’ve never had my leg snap in half. But I’ve also never had an athlete’s health care.

Yeah. Ware’s dreams of playing and winning a National Championship have been crushed.

But he’s living a dream of playing college hoops anyway. Something many fans would break their leg in half just to have the same opportunity.

Yeah. That sucks for Louisville.

But look at what Ware’s injury did to jump-start the determined emotions of a collegiate team playing for all the marbles?

Yeah. He may never play again.

But he’s got a free ride through a collegiate education.

Hopefully, Ware realizes now how quickly his physical talents can disappear. That life’s not all about basketball. That he should prepare his mind to contribute to this world, and use this injury as a catalyst. Not many players are that lucky.

And that’s what I’m struggling to type out, but it’s the truth: Kevin Ware is one lucky dude.

After beating Duke, Louisville holds up Ware’s #5 jersey. Photo courtesy nesn.com.

He might not think that right now, but somewhere down the road, I hope he stumbles upon this idea. Maybe he realized it while his entire team came to tears for him on the sideline. I have faith he’s on the right track: telling his team to beat Duke with a bone sticking out of his leg. That made headlines. It inspired his veteran coach. And his dedication to his team resonated emotionally with every fan who read about it.

More importantly, it showed he has a brain. And hopefully he realizes he’s lucky to have that. Because if you lose that, then no one is going to give a damn about you.

Blame our society. The media. The devil. Obama. Blame whoever you want. But it’s the truth. Seeing legs snap in half. Arteries severed. Knees bent backwards. Broken jaws and noses. These all get more attention than blows to the head.

Kevin Ware on crutches the day after. Photo courtesy cbsnews.com.

Maybe it’s because there’s nothing to see after a concussion. Fans need evidence that they’re getting what they paid for. And concussions are so boring. There’s no blood spurting out. No bones poking through the skin. No teammates crying, huddled around the concussed. No one is praying.

But they should. The brain doesn’t heel like a surgically-repaired tibia. That’s science. And I wonder how long it’s going to take to get sports fans realize this.

Gruesome isn’t a leg bone poking out of your skin.

Gruesome is losing your ability to perceive reality.

Let’s change how we react to these two entirely different types of injuries. Let’s follow CBS’s lead and not invest too much air time on the broken bones.

We also can’t put these highlight reel injuries into perspective without getting stories about the affects of head trauma later in life. Where’s the Junior Seau story sweeping the media? Let’s stop brushing the afflicted under the rug and give the real gruesome injuries the attention they deserve.

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