Kevin Ware pulled his team together while the rest of his teammates were falling apart after witnessing Ware land awkwardly after attempting to block a 3-point shot during the Elite Eight NCAA March Madness Tournament on Mar. 31.
Number one seeded Louisville dominated number two Duke in the second half and won 85-63, but before the celebration happened Ware heard a snap after trying to contest a shot, and saw his bone stick out of his leg with only 6:33 left in the first half. His teammates fell to the ground in disbelief. Their hands covered their faces, and they couldn’t bear to see their teammate’s traumatizing injury. The bench collapsed as they witnessed the gruesome pain with their own eyes and emotions flooded high.
But the only thing Ware was concerned about was for this team to win the game. He told them multiple times that he was fine. All he wanted them to do was win the game. He made sure they stopped worrying about him, and that his injury wouldn’t distract his team from their goal of winning a national championship.
Assuring they have a chance to win the championship is exactly what Louisville did as they walked onto the court for the second half. The Cardinals came out stronger, faster, and aggressive. They found their way to the paint, fell to the ground for every loose ball, and played intense defense. Duke couldn’t keep up with the pace of their game, and the Cardinals always had an answer for every shot made by Duke.
Ware’s selfless act inspired his team to win and bring him the Midwest Regional Champion trophy. After the game head coach Rick Pitino went to visit him and allowed Ware to hold the trophy. During the two hour surgery he had the bone reset, the wound closed, and a rod inserted in his tibia.
Twitter was buzzing for support and prayer for Kevin Ware. Many hashtagged “#PrayForKevinWare” and tweeted pictures of his leg, but also his teammates hovering around Kevin and showing what it looks like for a team to rise during adversity. The trophy is staying with him until he’s released Tuesday. He plans to travel with the team as they take on number nine Wichita State in the semifinal on April 6.