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Sunday, January 21, 2018
HomeHealthKevin Ware – Inspires athletes & non-athletes

Kevin Ware – Inspires athletes & non-athletes

On Sunday evening during the Louisville Cardinal vs Duke NCAA Elite Eight tournament game millions of television viewers witnessed Louisville Cardinal sophomore guard Kevin Ware’s awkward fall to the ground, after trying to block a 3-point shot, resulting in a compound fracture of his leg that left his teammates in tears. He was removed from the court, the game went on after a 9 minute delay, and Louisville won. The Louisville Cardinals are headed to the Final Four.

For the most part, broadcast media maintained Mr. Ware’s respect for privacy and the viewers from seeing replays of his fall and close-ups of his compound fracture. Social media went wild with tweets.

Colorlines  respectfully published A Non-Grotesque Picture From Louisville’s Kevin Ware Hospital Room. MSNBC’s new primetime anchor Chris Hayes, in his first All In program covered the story addressing a bigger policy issue, Are NCAA players uncompensated employees of the organization?  Of the many points he raised is this one, “if college basketball players are paid in scholarship dollars, what happens when an athlete is out the game? And who foots the medical bills- the “employer” (the college) or the student and his family?”

Reports today state that his medical bills will be covered.

Last night, by email,  I received the poem published below, Sport Is, written by my son, Ezra Ellenberg, a junior at the University of Maryland at College Park. He’s an athlete and a sports enthusiast.  He hosts a radio show, The Dugout Binder, on WMUC Sports, the college campus station.  He and his co-host,  Sung-Min Kim, evaluate teams and transactions based on sabermetrics and other advanced statistics. (A front page article in today’s NY Times talks about this new era of of baseball stats and sports reporting).

I think it sheds light on the many ways this young man, Kevin Ware, has touched us.  Athletes and non-athletes alike.

 We wish Mr. Ware a complete and full recovery.

Sport Is

Sport is beautiful.

Sport is raw.

Sport is emotion.

Sport is a freak accident.

Sport is seeing your brother go down.

Sport is knowing how hard he worked, only to have it all disappear.

Sport is collapsing.

Sport is tears.

Sport is disbelief and denial.

Sport is a huddle.

Sport is relying on your coach, your basketball father, who has been there before.

Sport is looking to his eyes for an answer.

Sport is seeing none.

Sport is kneeling next to your broken brother, drawing on every ounce of courage you have saying “don’t look down, stay with me, you’re ok, I’m here.”

Sport is pulling team mates closer, even those who can’t bear to look.

Sport is crouching, laying, kneeling next to him while he’s in agony.

Sport is weeping openly with your country watching.

But laying on your back, half dazed, half in agony, knowing your career could be over… telling your team mates “don’t worry about me, guys. Just win.”

That is more than sport.

That is superhuman.

That is heroic.

That transcends.

That moves people.

That moves me.

That makes me believe.

Sport is nine minutes of waiting, terrified.

Sport is wiping those tears

Sport is underperforming

Then, Sport is a jolt

Sport is a recalibration of focus

Sport is a reason

Sport is playing with a new found purpose

Sport is pressure

Sport is blitzing your opponent after halftime

Sport is seizing

Sport is the undeniable feeling that you are destined

Sport is ‘not today, Duke’

Sport is winning for Kevin

Sport is the final buzzer

Sport is throwing your hands in the air, triumphant at last

Sport is holding your brother in your heart because you can’t hold him in your arms

Sport is a moment

Sport is wearing his jersey with a smile on your face

Sport is ‘we’re bringing this home’

Sport is ‘no one’s fuckin stopin us now’

Sport is bringing him the trophy

Sport is telling him how proud you are, taking his head to rest on your shoulder

Sport is rehabilitation

Sport is a wheelchair, then a cast, then walking, then running, then jumping

Sport is feeling that first bead of sweat forming… and smiling

Sport is seeing the ball go in for the first time in too damn long

Sport is the weight room

Sport is the swimming pool

the sauna

the elastic band

the medicine ball

the scar tissue

the massage

the PT

Sport is the practice court

Sport is the press conference

Sport is checking in and hearing your name announced

Sport is the home crowd roaring with pleasure like so many proud relatives

Sport is ‘I’m back’

Kevin Ware– You Are Sport

by Ezra Ellenberg

Follow him on Twitter @ezraellenberg


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  • Barbara, please tell Ezra how much I was touched by his poem (I don’t tweet). As a former competitive long-distance runner who, along with the support of teammates, worked through various injuries, I so appreciate that he knows that sport brings to us much more than the actual game. At 75, I still have within me the appreciation which it brings to us of both the grandeurs and the frailties we all share in our humanness.

  • Kudos to Ezra! very moving.

  • bravo ez! it brought me back to sport and how it raised me. Thank you for that. wish i tweeted, but not really 🙂 luv to you and sport is within us all whether we played on a team or not, life is a game we are all playing and it ebs and flows as we grow. – ngina

  • Reblogged this on Peggy L Chinn and commented:
    This caught my attention because last night in Chris Hayes’ inaugural “All In” show, he covered the story of Kevin Ware and the issue of exploitation of college athletes, which is amplified when college athletes face major injury and health challenges. Thanks to Diana Mason’s “HealthCetera” blog for this wonderful post that addresses this issue that intersects nursing, public policy, college sports, and the future of health care in the U.S.

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