Injury Reaction Sparks Need for Prevention

Painful Perseverance

ASHLAND, Va.– Undetected injuries have been a recent issue in the sports world, as athletes such as Kevin Ware and Kobe Bryant have fallen to such drastic injuries causing doctors and athletes to speculate the cause.

Kevin Ware, a Louisville University sophomore basketball player, experienced one of the most gruesome injuries in the history of sports in front of millions of viewers during an Elite Eight contest. He suffered a compound fracture to his right leg after landing awkwardly.

Reaction became immediate as spectators, coaches, players, and even doctors were startled by the event. The question led to what could have caused such a serious injury.

Dr. Steven Reece, MD, a Richmond orthopedic doctor with a specialty in sports medicine said the injury was the result of a great amount of force while landing awkwardly.

“There was no indication of a stress fracture, because he did not have any previous complaints of pain or discomfort in the leg,” Reece said. It is a reasonable thought, but more of a result of rotational force.”

After Kobe Bryant tore his left Achilles tendon, increased minutes as a possible cause of injury has been debated by analysts, fans and other sports medicine specialists. Nicole Claybrooks, an avid fan of the Lakers, says she thinks head coach Mike D’antoni relied too heavily on Bryant in recent games in order to make the playoffs, and Bryant’s injury was a possible result.

Reece says he thinks Bryant is just an aging athlete who has participated for years in a jumping sport dynamic.

Many fanatics and sports professionals have been devastated by these two injuries, but it also has caused athletes to consider their own risks.

Madison Dulaney, a Randolph-Macon senior women’s basketball player knows the situation all too well. She has suffered stress fractures in both feet her freshman and sophomore year, and a loose body from a bone chip in the left knee her senior year. Dulaney says she pressured herself into pushing through and playing with the injury.

“The feeling that you’re letting the team down is enough to make you feel like you should play,” Dulaney said.

Athletes have learned to persevere, but there is a thin line between persevering and pressing your limit. Overplaying, or burn out is something that may be ignored as the athlete may consider an injury minor and feel the need to drive him or herself harder. Ware and Bryant are both suffering preventable injuries that require extensive rehab and will keep them out of the game for months.

Reece describes ways for athletes to prevent such injury.

“Athletes need to learn acclimatization, which is a gradual increase in training that allows your body to adjust from the off season to full training,” Reece said. “Total mileage restriction for athletes who run a lot should be limited to between 30 and 35 miles a week, and keep cross training in your fitness.”