Louisville Cardinals Kevin Ware Suffers Double Bone Break — Tibia-Fibula Compound Fracture in Game Against Duke

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Warning Graphic: CBS Sports video of during Duke-Cardinals when Kevin Ware landed on his right leg and suffered an open fracture of his tibia and fibula.

UPDATE: Kevin Ware underwent a successful two-hour surgery with bones reset and a rod inserted into the tibia. Doctors were able to close the wound caused by bone that pierced through the skin. He is expected to be able to play basketball again, but full weight-bearing performance may require up to a year. Ware, doctors and his supporters are hoping he will be able to travel with the team to the Final Four, which is being held in his hometown.

Late in the First Half of the NCAA Quarter Final game between the Lousiville Cardinals and the Duke Blue Devils, a rare sports injury occurred — a double compound fracture of the tibia and fibula. The tibia is the larger shin bone. The fibula is a smaller bone just outside of the tibia. The fractured bone(s) punctured through the skin of the injured player. The lower tibia or fibula is commonly broken or fractured in ankle fractures. A double compound tibia fibula fracture, also known as a “tib fib” fracture is very rare. It is more common in car crashes, not sporting events. The tibia is the larger bone and the main supportive bone of the lower leg. The fibula is a smaller long bone that holds about 10 percent of the weight load on the leg.

With 6:33 left in the first half and Louisville Cardinals ahead 21-20, backup guard Kevin Ware attempted to block a 3-point shot by Duke Tyler Thorton. When he landed on his leg, he fractured both bones in the right shin or lower leg. His teammates seemed to have a greater reaction to the sight of the injury. Ware was tough. He told his teammates to “win the game” … “win the game.”

Final score 85-63 after Kevin Ware told his teammates “win this one” at half time.

“I’ll be fine. Win the game.” (x5)

— Kevin Ware

Kevin Ware was transported by paramedics to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, close to Lucas Oil Stadium. An outpouring of support on Facebook and Twitter followed the news of the rare sports injury. Open fractures or compound fractures are defined as bone breaks that cause a break in the skin. There is very little soft tissue in front of the tibia, so it is easy for the sharp edge of the bone to tear through the skin. Medics on the scene immediately check the pedal pulse — that’s the pulse at the top of the foot — to make sure arteries and blood supply aren’t interrupted beyond the injury. Immediate treatment involves restoring blood supply to the parts of the leg below the fracture (if necessary), prevention of infection, and stabilization of the injury to prevent muscles from contracting and causing further displacement of the bones, and possibly further damage. Infection of the actual bone is possible, and sometimes treatment involves antibiotic beads that are placed in the wound. Recovery can be difficult because the bones have to be stabilized — often with surgery by an orthopedic surgeon using various types of metal hardware, including rods, intramedullary nails, and plates. There are different types of fractures, ranging from clean breaks to shattered bones with sharp pieces injuring nearby muscles, blood vessels and nerves. The stabilization hardware used depends on the type of open fracture.

Ware grew up in the Bronx, and his family moved to Atlanta when he was 14. His family moved to Rockdale County, Georgia to a less busy, quieter area.

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