A recent, horrific injury on the basketball court to Indiana Pacer, Paul George, brought to mind a similar incident from 2013 involving college basketballer Kevin Ware.
While the injuries are somewhat similar, the initial experiences that the men report couldn’t be more different:
“When I looked down and saw my bone sticking out, I knew it was bad. I’ve felt pain before. This was a pain I’ve never felt before.
“It felt like gasoline was on my leg and someone lit a match. Felt like my leg was in flames. It was a quick five minutes then my body went into shock.”
“I honestly didn’t feel pain,” Ware said about the compound fracture to his right leg. “It was more shock. I’ve never felt anything like that.”
“I thought it was just my ankle,” Ware said. “Coach kind of gave it away. His eyes got huge.”
Ware said he was concerned about his own long-term basketball future as he lay on the court, but also his team’s short-term success.
“‘Just win coach, just win,'” he said he told Pitino. “I am going to be fine.” That impressed Pitino, who, speaking earlier on Wednesday with ESPN, praised Ware’s attitude and recounted the words he said to him in the hospital.
“‘I don’t know too many people with their bone sticking out of their leg would have thought about the team like that,”‘ Pitino said. “So that speaks just so highly of you as a person.”
In one interview Ware reports that he never looked down at his leg and only realised how bad his injury was by looking at the reactions of his coach and teammates.
Ware has since said that he has never watched the gruesome video footage of the incident and has no plans to, ever, fearing it could hamper his full recovery and ability to play with confidence.
There might be a neuroscience nugget in this, for someone with a strongish stomach? Perhaps to help explain that injury, nociception and pain are not all the same thing, and how pain is a construct that relies on multiple sources of information.
Learn about dozens of other neuroscience nuggets as you get your think on and get up to date at a noigroup course. You can also immerse yourself in some brainy books with Explain Pain 2nd Ed and The Graded Motor Imagery Handbook