Injury and what it means
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:34
If you haven’t seen the video, please don’t.
It’s worse than the Lawrence Taylor tackle on Joe Theismann in 1985 on Monday Night Football.
But, in one instance, one step, one second, one play, one jump and one landing, Kevin Ware’s life changed.
The Louisville guard went to challenge a three-point shot by Duke’s Tyler Thornton during the first half of Sunday’s Elite Eight game. His right leg landed awkwardly in front of the Cardinals’ bench.
This was no ordinary injury.
Not a sprained ankle.
Not an ACL tear.
It looked much, much worse.
A compound fracture of the lower leg.
Louisville players on the bench grimaced. Teammates openly cried.
Thornton put his hands to his face.
Rick Pitino cried.
“The bone’s 6 inches out of his leg and all he’s yelling is, ‘Win the game, win the game,'” Pitino said after the game in an Associated Press article. “I’ve not seen that in my life. … Pretty special young man.”
The Twitter world was swift in its reaction.
Mostly it was asking for prayers for Ware.
Which are needed.
I then saw a tweet from Harrison Central three-sport standout Nick Pelegreen which said, “It’s crazy how ordinary of a play that was when Ware broke his leg. Shows that anything can happen at any moment.”
A column was born.
So, I gathered some reaction from local athletes on the injury, more specifically, what was their initial thought was when they saw it happen.
Kaleb Baire, Madonna sophomore: “I immediately thought, wow! I hope this kid can walk and play basketball the same again after this injury. It’s awful to see injuries like that to anyone in any sport. My prayers go out to him, his team, and his family. I was mainly hoping that this injury didn’t impact the rest of his life.”
Mark Smyth, West Liberty freshman pitcher: “His career is over. Horrible way to go out.”
Lexie Berger, Toronto sophomore: “My thoughts were, is his career over will he ever play again.”
Zach Herrington, Steubenville Central senior: “The first thing that went through my head was if he was going to be alright and if he’d ever play again. Those kind of things are so scary.”
Brenton Colabella, Steubenville Central junior: “My immediate thoughts were how simple of a play it was and anything can happen so you can’t take anything for granted. Play every play as hard as you can. My prayers go out to him and his family. He worked so hard and I wouldn’t want that to happen to anyone.”
Zach Connor, Indian Creek sophomore: “My thoughts were that kids can work so hard and for so long and then an injury can change all of it and if their dream was to go to the next level, that all of it could be in danger. It shows us how that athletes should never take a play off because any play could be your last.”
Emiley Masloski, Steubenville Big Red junior: “My initial reaction was ‘what if that was one of my teammates?’ Also, it made me wonder if he’ll ever play again. My heart broke for him also. Seeing his teammates so compassionate really got to me. It showed how much love and support they have for each other and that’s what basketball is all about to me – playing with passion and love for the game. It also made me realize you need to play every game like it’s your last because you never know when it will be taken away.”
Max Nogay, West Virginia University junior catcher: “As an athlete, you can’t take any day for granted. Injuries like that make me realize how blessed I am to be healthy and have the opportunity to play the sport that I love and represent my state. It’s unfortunate that it had to happen to that outstanding athlete, but it is a reality check for athletes everywhere to realize that we cant play forever and that we must give 110 percent every single day.”
Ross Comis, Weirton Madonna junior: “I cringed. Unreal. Never seen an injury like that in basketball. Prayers go to him though, that’s for sure!”
Alec Buchmelter, Brooke senior: “I truthfully didn’t see it, I was with my family (he said he saw it later). But I do know how everything can change because of injury.”
Kody Knight, Weir junior: “My thoughts were that this was tragic. I can’t imagine going through that pain. I can’t imagine being in the parents position witnessing it all happen. It’s also made me notice that teamwork is more about the things that occur off the court rather than on.”
Sara Pelegreen, West Virginia State senior softball pitcher: “I couldn’t believe it. I started thinking that when I pitch, I could stride wrong or something and something crazy like that could happen. It’s scary when you think about how things like that could happen at any given moment. I just recently got a line drive back to my quad and if I was turned just a little differently, the hit could have broken my femur. It’s just luck. Good or bad.”
“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” – Matthew 6:27
Everyone was in agreement that any play could be your last.
All of the players have gone through their own adversity through different avenues.
But, you play on. Athletes cannot worry about injuries.
We hear all the time that tomorrow is never guaranteed in anything.
The latest reports is that Ware could come back in eight months and be ready to play for Louisville next season.
But, one never knows.
I have always heard that a break heals faster and better than torn ligaments.
It is a lesson for us all.
Tomorrow is never guaranteed.
The next play is never guaranteed.
Being a member of a team is never guaranteed.
On another level, not being guaranteed another game happened to the Baylor women’s basketball team as it lost to Louisville in the Sweet 16 Sunday night.
The whole world had the Brittney Griner-led Bears winning its second straight national championship.
Yet, they are going home.
Griner finished her four-year career with 3,283 points (No. 2 all-time), 748 blocks (No. 1) and 18 dunks (No. 1).
Yet, one game, two 20-minute halves later, the women’s NCAA title is up for grabs, much more so than before the game started.
That’s why you play the game.
(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)