It almost goes unsaid -- but universally understood -- that if you commit a hard foul in basketball, you don't undercut an opponent's feet. That long held edict was violated on Saturday, leaving a player with temporary paralysis, a severe concussion and a diagnosis that ended his season and ensured he will never again play alongside his brother, a highly-touted recruit who is headed to Indiana.
According to the Indianapolis Star and Kokomo Perspective, Alex Etherington was injured when he elevated for a dunk on a breakaway just two minutes into Hamilton Heights (Ind.) High's game against Peru (Ind.) High. After Etherington went up for the slam he was pushed from behind by a Peru player, losing his balance as a result and crashing dangerously to the floor, as you can see in the video above.
Immediately after hitting the ground, Etherington was found to be unconscious and was transported out of the gym on a stretcher and taken first to a hospital in Peru, then on to another medical center in Fort Wayne for additional tests.
"The scariest part was that he had temporary paralysis," Etherington's father, Brett, told the Star. "He couldn't move anything. But once he could start to move his arms and legs, we knew it wasn't as bad as it could have been."
The sophomore has since recovered, but he's paying a price for his opponents flagrant foul; the injury Etherington suffered has ruled him out for six weeks, ensuring that he won't get the chance to play alongside his brother, Indiana recruit Austin Etherington, again.
To say that the brothers are close is an understatement, as one can glean from the senior below.
"The big thing was to win the game for Alex since he couldn't be there," said Austin, who scored 20 points and was whistled for a technical foul after his brother was pushed to the floor. "It was a tough, emotional night."
Now Hamilton Heights will have to move on to other tough, emotional playoff nights without one of the team's catalysts. The first of those comes on Friday, when the Huskies will take the floor in a Class 3A against New Palestine (Ind.) High.