The Kevin Ware Injury In The Twitter World


In the midst of Louisville’s 85-63, Final Four clinching victory over the Duke Blue Devils on Sunday, Cardinal sophomore Kevin Ware suffered quite possibly the most gruesome leg injury in the history of competitive sports.

The screenshot seen below shows the full extent of his injury (WARNING – EXTREMELY GRAPHIC). Ware suffered a compound fracture – also known as an open fracture – which occurs when there is a break in the skin surrounding a broken bone. In Ware’s case, the bone was literally protruding through the skin.


While this is nonetheless a horrific and tragic event for the young man, the issue immediately surrounding the injury was not how the injury would impact Ware’s career or if Louisville could beat Duke.

But instead, the overriding topic of discussion was: should the injury – in the 24/7 news cycle, internet era – be shown and looped continuously for everyone to see.

Almost instantly, following the injury, a massive debate started to arise on Twitter over CBS’ coverage.

The network replayed video of the injury once or twice when it initially occurred, but they eventually (and correctly) opted to show reaction shots from Ware’s teammates and Duke opponents instead.

But ultimately, did CBS handle it correctly?

Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated believes so, disagreeing with ESPN’s Bill Simmons on how the coverage was handled.


From there, the talk on Twitter spilled over to whether or not the injury should be made into a GIF and linked and shared for everyone to see.

SB Nation, the go-to site for sports GIFs, respectfully declined to make a GIF of the injury tweeting this instead.


Instead of showing the actual injury, SB Nation rounded up GIFs of of reaction shots of the Louisville and Duke players.

All told, the way in which the “internet community” handled the injury, in terms of choosing a compassionate, sympathetic approach as opposed to a schadenfreude, voyeuristic approach couldn’t have been better.

Some agree while others do not.

However, to me, discretion was certainly the better part of valor for both CBS and ESPN, as well as the Twitter community. Injuries like this have happened before. Just because one has the means and technology to watch it and distribute it on a continuous loop doesn’t mean one should.

Let’s hope that as we move forward, this is the rule and not the exception.



18 thoughts on “The Kevin Ware Injury In The Twitter World

  1. You mean the media actually HAS discretion? Seems to me, the more disgusting and emotionally evocative, the better. I gave my television away in ’06 and I stopped watching the news long before that. We still have the ultimate control over our own experience: it’s called the OFF button.

  2. Rough to watch live. What a horrific injury! Too many opinions surrounding the decision to show his protruding bone….my two cents is I think it’s gross, and choose not to look at it over and over again. Turn the channel. Wish him well. Move on. Thanks for the post!

    • I totally agree with this comment. I was surprised to see the photo as well. Even for a full fledged adult person on this planet today…it’s a tough image to see. A graphic explanation would suffice…sans pic.

  3. I live in Ky and, although I’m a UK, not a UL fan, I couldn’t escape the endless coverage of Ware’s injury. I do agree it was handled tastefully though. Hopefully, the kid will heal completely.

  4. And a word to the wise …………… those looking to see the actual video through Google can invite a trojan virus into their computer. It seems these bastards target not only porn and cute puppie viewers, but those who view tragedies such as this. CBS handled it well, the kid handled it like ……………… no, better than a pro. And if you’re THAT curious, go watch the old Joe Theismann video. A thoughtful post.

  5. It was newsworthy and deserved coverage and discussion. I didn’t see repeated airings anywhere…other than my computer (frustrated should-have-gone-to-med-school moment #34444). I also feel that you adequately warned the squeamish in your post.

  6. It seems to me that we get an odd sense of pleasure out of seeing this stuff-We love it when good stuff happens on the news, but bad stuff sells better than good stuff- first New Years baby? People read it and move on. A shooting at a mall? People won’t stop talking about it for days. It’s not so much the media I think, but everybody’s reactions. We LIKE to see people fail…I am very impressed therefore, that they decided to choose the player’s feelings over the audience-Shows that people do put others ahead of capitalism… 🙂 There’s still hope yet.

  7. I believe the media handled this horrific injury the best that they could. I watched the injury happen live and when it happened it was difficult to see the extent of the injury but when it was replayed it became clear how terrible it was. After replaying it at that time the media stopped focusing on that and focused in on the other players reactions which I believe is what they should have done. Even through his interview on ESPN they only showed pictures of the reactions which I believe was a great way of respecting Ware.

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