The Louisville Cardinals may have beat the Duke Blue Devils Sunday, but Kevin Ware’s dramatic broken leg stole all the headlines that night.
Ware suffered a compound (or open) fracture, when bone breaks through the skin, during a routine play in the NCAA regional championship basketball game. The break was so gruesome CBS decided to only show two quick replays and then relied on images of the crowd and Ware’s teammates visibly shaken by the injury.
Even though this break happened to an athletic young man, in a very popular sport, Children’s National Medical Center’s Director of the Bone Health Program
, Laura Tosi, MD, said parents shouldn’t keep their kids away from sports.
“This is really not any indication to keep your kids out,” said Dr. Tosi. “This young man was ‘up and at ‘em
’ the next day. And his risk of infection, while not zero, is very low because we live in an antibiotic era.”
Bones usually do great in compression situations, but are more likely to fail when it’s twisted, according to Tosi.
“We suspect that it was just a unique landing that twisted just enough of the bone’s very significant ability to withstand all kind of traumas,” said Dr. Tosi, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon.
Dr. Tosi said that impact-loading exercises, like running and jumping, are the most important type of exercises for building healthy bones. There are also other ways to keep bones strong, by making sure kids get enough:
- Vitamin D: Helps the body absorb calcium
- Calcium: Children ages 9 -18 should get about 1,300 grams of calcium
- Protein: Children ages 11-14 need a gram for every 2 pounds of body weight
“Bone health is important for everyone. Problems with bone health can occur in anybody and it’s important for everyone to keep their bone health at the best possible level they can,” Dr. Tosi said. “Happily [Ware’s break is] a rare event, but not an impossible event, so we want kids to have the best bones they can to reduce the possibility of such an injury.”