Orthopedic Point of View of Kevin Ware's Injury

During the Regional Final of the NCAA Basketball Championship, viewers and players witnessed perhaps one of the most gruesome injuries witnessed in the world of basketball.  As the crowd watched for ten minutes how Ware laid on the floor in agonizing distress his teammates and head coach wept tears of disbelief.  Ware kept telling them "forget about me" "win the game" because he knew his injury could make them loose focus on such an important match. 

Rarely do you see such traumatic injuries happen in a sport that does not involve serious contact.  Many sports fans are still wondering how is it possible that a player who looks strong and agile can be the victim of such a terrible injury just for the fact that he landed incorrectly.  Let us look at the orthopedic point of view of this.

This injury was a unique one and one that will need a wide variety of medical attention including electrotherapy to pull through.  As Ware landed on one foot, his knee locked up and went completely unresponsive to absorbing the shock. Our knees and ankles are designed to absorb shock when we jump, run and even walk.  Studies have shown that it takes 900 to 1000 pounds of pressure to fracture a bone structure. Athletes in basketball are strong and fast, and adding these two factors to their weight certainly makes them susceptible to injuries like this one although snapping a bone the way Ware did is extremely rare.

There have been speculations that Kevin Ware's injury came about due to a bone deficiency or perhaps a previous stress fracture but neither one nor the other has been the case. One would think that 900-1000 pounds is a lot of pressure to even apply on your body just by jumping, but it has been shown that even by walking up the steps you apply up to 4 times your body weight on your legs.  In Kevin Ware's injury case,  you have an athlete who is running at full speed and at the same time landing on one single leg that did not provide the absorption needed at knee level.  All that force he was carrying got transmitted into his snapped tibia bone.  Bottom line, this incident was just a matter of bad luck.  It is similar to the back luck basketball players run into when they tear their ACL. 

So when will Ware be back?  Will he be able to play again? For him to recovery properly and come back as strong as he was before the accident he will have to go through many phases of a truly intensive and extensive therapy. The fact that he had an open fracture made the surrounding muscles suffer injury as well.  Therefore, it will be the soft tissue that will need major rehabilitation.  Technology will play a big part in this process.  He will be using a lot of electrotherapy for the pain and for muscle stimulation through EMS units of the muscle to heal from within as perfectly as possible.  His muscles will need to get strong again.  Not only the injured ones, but in general his core, hips, quads and hamstrings will have to gain strength to promote the stability he needs to get back in the game.


Kevin Ware's Injury Video (Uncensored)