Injuries are common for athletes. But doctors say what happened to one NCAA basketball player is not common. Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered an open fracture during Sunday's game. Our Iris St. Meran spoke with one of SU's team physicians about Ware's injury and how modern medicine can make a full recovery possible.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Before Louisville clinched a spot in the Final Four, guard Kevin Ware severely injured his leg. It's an injury no one could have anticipated.
Syracuse University Team Physician Bradley Raphael said, "It's shocking whether you're an orthopedist or not. It appeared he had an open fracture of his tibia. It may have been multiple locations. I didn't see the x-rays, but it sounds like it was a compound fracture, meaning that it had multiple breaks."
Raphael is an orthopedic consultant and SU team physician. He's been traveling with the Orange while they've been on the road for the NCAA Tournament and will be in Atlanta.
There's already talk of Ware traveling there to watch the Cardinals compete in the Final Four, as well as coming back to play in a year. Raphael can't speak specifically to Ware's condition or prognosis, but says a number of advances in modern medicine could make both possible.
"The intramedullary device is usually made out of titanium or some sort of metallic material and it gives the bone actually significant mechanical structure to allow it to heal," Raphael added.
Before modern medicine, returning to basketball really would not have been an option. Although Raphael says nothing could have prevented this, he encourages his patients to be aware of stress fractures and other issues.
"Not that you can avoid these things, but there are a lot of injuries that can be avoided because they're simply overuse injuries,” Raphael cautioned. “Not that this was an overuse injury, but just be aware. You don't always want to play through pain."
If they do experience pain, the best thing athletes can do is let their coach or physician know so it can be checked out. That way they can continue playing the sports they love.