Kevin Ware, a member of the Louisville basketball team, suffered a horrific leg injury during the regional final of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, raising the question again of properly compensating college athletes.
For now the compound fracture and associated medical bills will be covered by the university, but Ware, an outside pro-prospect, may have to forfeit millions in potential earnings after suffering the injury.
Ware's fate changed after he jumped up to try and block a 3-point shot by Duke's Tyler Thornton, but when he landed he came down at an angle and the bottom half of his leg snapped in half.
Players on both team's benches reacted sharply after seeing the graphic injury take place right in front of them. A few of Louisville's players who were on the court where so overcome with emotion they dropped to their knees and covered their eyes after seeing the gruesome injury. The game was halted momentarily as medics rushed to Ware's aid as he laid courtside in agony.
The next question for Ware comes after he is done playing college ball- if he can come back from this injury. Who will cover possible medical bills associated with rehabilitation, and how will he replace the potential income he could have made if he did not suffer the leg injury and had gone pro?
For now, college athletes are being compensated with championship rings and t-shirts, but Ware's injury could open the discussion of how to properly compensate college athletes. The NCAA and CBS recently agreed to terms in a $10.8 billion deal that gives CBS the rights to broadcast the men's basketball tournement until 2024. The three weekends a year will cost CBS $771 million per year not to mention the money brought in from other sponsers and advertisers for the tournement.
"Clearly the NCAA was founded on amateurism and all those good things, but you know the amount of money the NCAA makes off these players is absurd," Brett Driscoll, who supports athlete pay at revenue generating sports programs, told AP.
It is not yet known how long he may be out of action for or whether the injury could have any long term effects on his career.
As Ware was carried off on a stretcher, fans chanted his name, but on court some of his teammates were moved to tears, and it was even reported that some players vomited by the bench.
Louisville players quickly regrouped into a huddle and recaptured their composure, and it appeared they did a good job of it. They went on to clinch an NCAA 2013 Final Four spot, eventually beating Duke convincingly by 85-63.
Click below to watch Ware's horrific injury (WARNING: Graphic content).