Viewers react to gruesome Ware injury from home


The memory of what happened to Louisville sophomore Kevin Ware will not only stay with the player and his teammates, but also with millions of basketball fans.

Photographs Monday showed Ware on his feet on crutches for the first time since breaking his leg in two places during the Cardinals' win over Duke Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

"Ware's leg snapped. That was pretty nasty and gruesome," said IU student Tom Bandura, who was watching the game. "It's pretty disturbing, such a gruesome sight."

"Pretty powerful to see that happen before your eyes," said IU student Ben Buddig.

Fans and fellow players were still talking about the injury Monday.

"Guys on the bench were covering and cowering. I had the same reaction as them," said Buddig.

What did we see on TV when we saw the players' reaction to Ware's injury?

"We were vicariously feeling the same kind of experience as the person themselves," said Dr. Ed Hirt.

Hirt, a psychology professor at IU, says it hurt Ware much more than it did fans, players and viewers, of course, but studies show just seeing others injured activates our brain's pain centers, too.

"All of his teammates on the bench immediately got down on their knees and covered their faces. Rick Pitino was crying," said student Vince Tite.

Many of us watching at home covered our eyes, too. Hirt says seeing players and coaches so horrified cued the rest of us to feel the same.

"It makes it much more intense for us. We sort of feel this is serious. 'Oh my gosh, what's going on?'," he said.

"Do we want to relive it over and over again?" Hirt asked. "I would think it was an unpleasant enough experience that we don't necessarily want to feel that, but we feel like others should know what happened."

So we'll send links to the video to friends and join the online buzz, sharing the experience with empathy for a rival.

"To see something college level, when you can related that to 'What if that happened to (an IU player)?'," said student Brenda McGinn. "(That's what) makes it so upsetting."

Still, some of us will rewatch the video over again.

"Know several guy friends, we have watched the video again," said Max Sterrett.

"I watched it a couple times," said another student. "That's all I could stomach of it, though."

"I couldn't handle it. I felt sick the first time," said Madeline Ehrlich.