You always hate to see kids get injured in any sport. What’s worse, you hate to see the injury so severe that it makes you want to get sick. That’s what happened to Kevin Ware’s leg during the NCAA tournament game this last weekend. If you really need to see the injury I’m sure that you can get it off of Google in no time, because I’m not showing anything here.
Speaking of which, props to CBS for not showing Kevin Ware’s leg injury during the Louisville/Duke basketball game in nauseating replays. Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg pretty much sat quietly for most of the time and the camera focused more on coaches and teammates than Ware writhing in pain on the floor. The whole scene made you just really feel for everybody in the arena that had to witness that, and then the players had to play the game.
Believe it or not we had something similar (not to that degree) happen earlier this season. It was a simple 3-2, 2-1 drill where one of my players jumped for an offensive board and came down on someone’s foot, turning his ankle. The only problem was that the ankle stayed turned. It had totally dislocated, with the bone pushing flush against the skin. So, as a coach, what do you do when you are faced with a traumatic injury, even at the younger levels?
First thing I did when I saw the injury was tell one of the assistants to call 911. Barring the usual nicks and scrapes, you don’t screw around with someone else’s child. Period. And this was definitely going to require more medical expertise than I had. Second, get the kid laying down and telling him that everything was going to be fine. This was one tough kid and the pain must have been horrific. But the staff did a nice job getting him to lay down, not to look at the injury, and making him regulate his breathing the best we could. Next, call the parents and tell them the situation. The parents understood and were very calm. That helps. Finally, keep the rest of the guys away from the scene. During an injury like that it is important to remember that coaches are still responsible for the well being of a group of kids. They didn’t need to see the severity of the injury or the pain the athlete was in. We moved them to the other side of the gym and put a towel up when the medics cut away the players shoe. Then they took him to the hospital, reset everything, and the season moved on. The athlete has a decent amount of rehab to go through.
Oh, and if you are a coach and your player has to go to the hospital, visit them. It’s the right thing to do and goes a long way in helping establish a reputation as a caring mentor in your program.