Spring 2021 Magazine

Stanford, Colorado basketball teams pray together after Oscar da Silva's scary injury

With 16:28 remaining in the second half of a PAC-12 basketball showdown Saturday between the Colorado Buffaloes and the Stanford Cardinal, Colorado forward Evan Battey found himself on a fast break with only Stanford forward Oscar da Silva to beat.

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Battey went up for a contested layup, became entangled with da Silva and hit the floor. The Stanford player bore the brunt of the collision, as da Silva’s head slammed hard into the floor. He laid on the floor for a brief time as he was assisted by a team of medical professionals.

Eventually, da Silva stood and left the floor under his own power, trainers still holding a towel to his head to stop the bleeding. The Stanford Twitter account later announced that da Silva had a head laceration that likely required stitches.

As da Silva’s injury was being tended to, Battey and many of the other players for both teams were visibly shaken after the scary incident. And then in a truly remarkable display of humanity, players and the head coaches from both teams huddled together at center court to say a prayer for da Silva:

“(Colorado head coach Tad) Boyle wanted me to call both teams together and say a prayer with both teams,” Buffaloes point guard McKinley Wright told CUBuffs.com after the game. “So we got together and (Stanford coach Jerod) Haase said for both teams to keep playing hard. I said a prayer and thanked God that he was OK and he wasn’t worse than what it was.”

Battey went to the locker room for a few moments after the play to regain his composure. Buoyed by the emotion of the moment, Battey soon returned to the game and played inspired basketball to help Colorado come from behind to win, 81-74. Battey finished with 13 points and four assists to help No. 24 Colorado improve to 19-5.

Yet after the game, everyone was still thinking about da Silva and the memorable moment that followed.

“As the game went on, I was still praying, still saying prayers,” Battey said after the game.

Wright said he did the only thing he knew to do: “I just got down on my knees and said a prayer.”

Da Silva, a junior from Germany, is Stanford’s leading scorer on the season. At 6-feet-9 and 225 pounds, he is an imposing presence on the interior for the 16-7 Cardinal. The Stanford Twitter account released another update about da Silva on Sunday evening, indicating that he continues to heal but has no timetable for a return to the court, though he is expected to make a full recovery.

Even with competitiveness running high during an important college basketball conference game, the powerful message of support for a fellow player that Stanford and Colorado demonstrated on the court Saturday will not soon be forgotten

“Sportsmanship isn’t the right word (for what happened),” Haase told NCAA.com after the game. “It was human decency. This was a human story, not sportsmanship. There were real emotions with real people. There was so much high character on both teams.”

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