What Happened to Kevin Ware? Dr. Seeds Weighs In

Written by James Seeds, MD on July 10, 2013

Kevin Ware, a sophomore guard for Louisville’s men’s basketball team, broke his lower right leg in two places during the Midwest Regional Final on Sunday against Duke. Louisville was victorious even after what some are calling one of the worst injuries ever witnessed in basketball. So gruesome, in fact, CBS stopped airing footage of the injury due to its graphic nature.

Dr. James R. Seeds of the Midwest Bone & Joint Institute comments on Ware’s injury:

According to reports, Ware fractured (broke) the two bones in his lower leg – the tibia and fibula – when he landed after attempting to block a shot. He sustained what is called an “open fracture”, which means the bone was pushed through the skin and therefore exposed to germs. This type of injury is considered an emergency and requires immediate surgery to prevent infection and possibly repair the bone(s).

Standard procedure is to wash out the wounded area and, if appropriate, surgically fix the fracture. In Ware’s case, a rod was placed down the middle of the tibia (the larger of the two bones) to stabilize it. The smaller bone (fibula) was either surgically repaired using a plate or allowed to heal on its own depending on the stability of the tibia fracture.,/p>

This type of trauma does not normally occur with regular jumping/landing. But, in unusual circumstances, landing off center with a twisting motion can cause this type of break to happen. This is very rare. Among the sports community, there are rumors of a possible underlying stress fracture, which can weaken the bone making it more susceptible to a break. At this point, we can only speculate exactly what caused the fracture. But, we do know this type of surgery is normally successful – giving Ware a very good chance of returning to usual play next season.

James R. Seeds, MD holds a double board certification in both Orthopeodic Surgery and Sports Medicine. He was fellowship trained in Sports Medicine at the American Sports Medicine Institute (Birmingham, AL) in the company of internationally renowned surgeons Dr. Lawrence Lemak and Dr. James Andrews. Dr. Seeds is a partner at the Midwest Bone & Joint Institute (Algonquin, Barrington, Elgin and Geneva, IL).