EIGHINGER: CBS deserves credit for avoiding unending replays of gruesome injury to Louisville player

Posted: Apr. 2, 2013 9:45 pm Updated: May. 1, 2013 7:27 am


Sometimes, less truly is more.

There are times of the never-ending news cycle, when the television cameras bring us visions we wish they would not. Too often, they prefer intrusion rather than restraint.

During Sunday's NCAA Tournament basketball game between Louisville and Duke, the proper amount of restraint -- not to mention common courtesy and common sense -- were shown. Those who made the call at CBS did the right thing.

Louisville player Kevin Ware landed awkwardly and broke his leg in two places, an incredibly gruesome injury that CBS stopped showing after two immediate replays.

It was awful.

I enjoy flesh-eating zombie TV shows and movies, and just about any action film where a lot of things get blown up, but I did not want to see that injury again. That was real. All too real.

For those old enough to remember a Monday night in fall 1985, it brought back painful recollections of the injury suffered by then-Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann. Theismann, in fact, took to Twitter shortly after Wade's injury Sunday and issued this statement:

"Watching Duke/Louisville my heart goes out to Kevin Ware."

That storyline and the others that have emerged from this tragedy have been both ironic and inspirational, which we -- speaking of the irony thing -- owe to that same never-ending news cycle. While annoying at some points, our constant access to information and updates can also prove beneficial.

Consider, within hours after the injury, we learned that:

º Ware was taken to nearby Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, the site where drivers at Indianapolis Motor Speedway are moved after some of the horrific crashes during the Indy 500. Ware could not have been in better medical hands. Great job, TV, and reported without showing the gruesome injury again.

º That Ware's hometown, Atlanta, is hosting this week's Final Four. His and the Louisville team's goal all season was to "get him home" for the championship. They accomplished that task, even if Ware will be there in spirit only. Again, a great job without replaying the injury.

º Ware, despite being in unimaginable pain, told his team "at least 12 times," according to his coach, Rick Pitino, not to worry about him or his injury. He pleaded with the Louisville players to simply go out and "win this thing." This one brought some tears to my eyes. A great job by CBS reporters, all without having to show the horrible injury.

º Pitino stayed with Ware throughout the night Sunday, to be there when he awakened after surgery to reset the bones and place a metal rod in his leg. Pitino said it will take Ware a year for Ware to recover. Compassion, without gore.

"It was very difficult to look at and watch," Pitino said in the post-game press conference. "But he's a brave young man, because all he kept saying was, ‘Win the game.' Basically the bone popped out of his skin."

Two people near the incident, which unfolded right in front of the Louisville bench, relayed these thoughts on Twitter:

º Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated: "His shin bone was fully protruding."

º Pete Thamel of the New York Times: "I have never seen teammates react to an injury like this ... Pitino wiping away tears on the bench. My God, what a surreal scene."

The words were all compelling, creating the necessary images for our mind to comprehend. We needed to know what happened, and we needed to how it happened. We just didn't need to see the accidental horror over and over.

Thanks, TV. You got this one right.




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