Joe Theismann Relives His Gruesome Injury in the Wake of the Kevin Ware Incident

April 2, 2013 – 8:30 am by Eric Schmoldt

When Kevin Ware suffered his devastating leg injury in Sunday’s game between Louisville and Duke, the sight immediately conjured up memories of some of the most gruesome injuries in sports. Of course Joe Theismann’s name immediately became part of that conversation. He’s been in touch with Ware already and is offering his support moving forward.

Joe Theismann joined The Mighty 1090 in San Diego with Scott and BR to discuss getting in touch with Louisville’s Kevin Ware, what Ware’s response was, what he remembers about the night he was injured, suffering an open fracture and how Louisville rallied to win after Ware was hurt.

How did you get to a point where you were texting back and forth with Kevin Ware?:

“You just have to know the right kind of people to get to somebody. A lot of guys have numbers and you just try to figure out a way to get to someone and … Coach Pitino was kind enough to help me out in getting in touch with Kevin. I felt so bad for him and I want to try to offer, as much as I can, support to him from an emotional standpoint. … He certainly doesn’t need me for anything at this point, but maybe down the road a little bit, some things may come up in his rehab or some questions may come up. … Unless you’ve actually been through something, you don’t know the physical and psychological impact that the recovery has.”

When you texted him, did he really know who you were or anything about your injury?:

“Go to YouTube. … He said, ‘Thank you, I appreciate it so much.”

Take us back to the night of your injury. What do you remember about it?:

“The night lives with me quite often, because people will come up all the time and ask me how the leg is. That’s the No. 1 question. … Seeing what happened to Kevin took me back to Nov. 18, just like it was yesterday. The faces around me, the smells, the sounds, the moisture on my back, it was all right there very vivid once again in my mind. In living through it again, it just sort of drove a point home to me that if there’s anything I can do to help this young man. … For me, the first thing that I did. Bubba Tyer came out, our trainer … and I said, ‘Bubba, call my mom and dad and tell them I’m OK. And then as they put me on the stretcher, there was a lot of activity. I never saw my leg. … When I got to the hospital, when they moved me from one gurney to another, they forgot to pick up the lower part of my leg. … My right leg just sort of dropped down.”

On suffering an open fracture:

“The biggest thing about an open fracture in football, for example, is you can be very susceptible to infection. I think it’s the same thing in basketball. The biggest concern with Kevin at this point is you don’t want an infection in the leg.”

On Louisville regaining its composure and winning the game after the injury:

“What an unbelievable job Rick Pitino did [Sunday], I think, with his basketball team. Those last six minutes of the first half, they were zombies. They were so overcome by the incident that they just couldn’t function. They just managed to gather themselves and become a very inspired basketball team. But I’ll watch with particular interest this weekend, more than I would have casually before.”

Listen to Joe Theismann on The Mighty 1090 in San Diego here

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