Monday, September 22, 2014
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March Madness: Kevin Ware's injury and prognosis

In today's Elite Eight contest, Louisville's Kevin Ware sustained an injury that was hard to watch-and will be even harder to rehabilitate.

March Madness: Kevin Ware's injury and prognosis

Louisville´s Wayne Blackshear reacts to Kevin Ware´s injury during the first half. (Darron Cummings/AP)
Louisville's Wayne Blackshear reacts to Kevin Ware's injury during the first half. (Darron Cummings/AP)

If you saw it, chances are you’ll never forget it.

In today’s Midwest regional final, Louisville Cardinals guard Kevin Ware suffered a broken leg on a seemingly routine play in the first half against Duke. Ware attempted to challenge a jump shot and landed awkwardly in front of his team’s bench. The game was delayed for about 15 minutes as doctors tended to the fallen player.

Ware, who broke his leg in two places, was resting this morning after successful surgery, the AP reports, in which a rod was inserted into his tibia.

We talked to Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC, lead therapist and coordinator for Sports Medicine at Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute about Ware’s road to recovery. Shaginaw works with the United States Men’s Soccer Team and says he’s seen quite a few such injuries on the pitch.

“Most of those injuries are caused by slide tackles, where people come into contact with that area,” he says. “I’d say it’s a pretty common soccer injury.”

As traumatic as the injury appeared on TV, Shaginaw is optimistic for Ware’s chances of recovery. He says the key is the type of break sustained. “If it’s a clean break, the fracture will heal fine,” he says. “But if it’s a bad break [with the bone fragmented] then the fracture may not heal [as quickly or easily]. The biggest concern is whether there’s an injury to a nerve, artery or vein.”

Television reporters at the game were able only to confirm a broken leg. If that is indeed the totality of Ware’s prognosis, Shaginaw says he’s optimistic at the chances for a return to play.

“I would probably say 80-90 percent of players with similar injuries have returned to play,” he reports. “And maybe 60 percent or so are able to return at the same level.”

Shaginaw says that the appearance of the injury doesn’t always match the severity of amount of pain the player feels. But with this type of injury, recovery will be psychological as well as physical. Until Ware’s injury, the play couldn’t have been any more routine—a player challenging an outside jump shot. After an incident like this, will Ware be mentally able to return to playing basketball at a high level?

“These are tough ones to come back from,” Shaginaw admits. “My guess is that this injury could be somewhat easier to come back from than a football or soccer tackle, because that involves another player injuring you. People can be hesitant to return to that sort of contact. Hopefully since this was more of an awkward landing, it might be a little easier. But he definitely faces a challenging recovery.”

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.

Robert Senior Event coverage, Sports Doc contributor
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Whether you are a weekend warrior, an aging baby boomer, a student athlete or just someone who wants to stay active, this blog is for you. Read about our growing list of expert contributors here.

Brian Cammarota, MEd, ATC, CSCS, CES Partner at Symetrix Sports Performance
Desirea D. Caucci, PT, DPT, OCS Co-owner of Conshohocken Physical Therapy, Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Michael G. Ciccotti, M.D. Head Team Physician for Phillies & St. Joe's; Rothman Institute
Julie Coté, PT, MPT, OCS, COMT Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Peter F. DeLuca, M.D. Head Team Physician for Eagles, Head Orthopedic Surgeon for Flyers; Rothman Institute
Joel H. Fish, Ph.D. Director of The Center For Sport Psychology; Sports Psychology Consultant for 76ers & Flyers
R. Robert Franks, D.O. Team Physician for USA Wrestling, Consultant for Phillies; Rothman Institute
Ashley B. Greenblatt, ACE-CPT Certified Personal Trainer, The Sporting Club at The Bellevue
Eugene Hong, MD, CAQSM, FAAFP Team Physician for Drexel, Philadelphia Univ., Saint Joe’s, & U.S. National Women’s Lacrosse
Martin J. Kelley, PT, DPT, OCS Advanced Clinician at Penn Therapy and Fitness, Good Shepherd Penn Partners
Julia Mayberry, M.D. Attending Hand & Upper Extremity Surgeon, Main Line Hand Surgery P.C.
Jim McCrossin, ATC Strength and Conditioning Coach, Flyers and Phantoms
Kevin Miller Fitness Coach, Philadelphia Union
Heather Moore, PT, DPT, CKTP Owner of Total Performance Physical Therapy, North Wales and Hatfield, PA
Kelly O'Shea Senior Health Producer, Philly.com
Tracey Romero Sports Medicine Editor, Philly.com
David Rubenstein, M.D. Team Orthopedist for 76ers; Main Line Health Lankenau Medical Center
Robert Senior Event coverage, Sports Doc contributor
Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC Athletic Trainer for US Soccer Federation; Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute
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