Kevin Ware Returns to March Madness After Gruesome Injury

Two years after his leg snapped, player is experiencing the ultimate comeback.

ByPAULA FARIS and SUZANNE YEO
March 20, 2015, 7:30 AM

— -- Kevin Ware's previous March Madness experience ended in shock and sadness.

Playing for eventual champion Louisville in 2013, Ware attempted to block an opponent’s shot during an Elite Eight game against Duke when his leg snapped, a gruesome injury that left players and fans covering their eyes.

Two years later, Ware made an inspirational return to the NCAA tournament Thursday, scoring 4 points as his current team, 14th-seed Georgia State, upset No. 3 Baylor 57-56.

“It’s a great feeling, having the underdog feeling, knocking out Baylor,” Ware said after the victory.

Ware, 22, is familiar with underdog stories. He admits that he struggled to mentally recover from his injury.

“I had to act like everything was OK when it wasn’t,” he said in an ESPN interview. “Everyone looking at you like a famous guy because you broke your leg, and that wasn’t me.”

After transferring from Louisville to Georgia State – which is closer to his home of Rockdale County, Georgia – Ware became one of the leaders for the Panthers, scoring a team high 18 points in the Sun Belt Conference championship game. The conference championship earned Georgia State its third NCAA tournament bid in school history.

“If you would have told Kevin in the hospital bed two years ago that he would be the MVP of a conference tournament, he would look at you and laugh,” teammate R.J. Hunter told ESPN.

The Panthers needed some gumption to top Baylor, rallying from a 12-point deficit and hitting the game-winning shot with only seconds on the clock. The ending was so thrilling, it caused head coach Ron Hunter to fall off his stool.

Ware’s comeback journey continues Saturday, when Georgia State faces Xavier.

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