Akil Mitchell, a 24-year-old former University of Virginia forward, had an eye popping experience while playing in a game in New Zealand on Thursday.
Mitchell was playing for the New Zealand Breakers in a game against Cairns when he was poked in the face by an opposing player while battling for a rebound.
Video footage shows Mitchell writhing on the floor and grabbing his face. When he raised his head, his left eye was protruding from its socket.
His teammates were visibly upset as officials stopped the game so medical staff could tend to Mitchell.
Mitchell later said he pushed his eye back into the socket and he suffered no impairment of vision.
As the news spread via social media, Mitchell began fielding calls from news outlets. On Friday, he told the New Zealand Herald he refuses to watch viral video of the accident.
“(Teammate) Paul (Carter) really wanted me to see it and I was like, ‘I can’t do it,'” Mitchell told Herald on Friday. “It kind of makes my eye throb a little just thinking about it, so I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to watch it.”
He said one of the benefits of nearly losing his eye was being able to view the world like “a chameleon, how they can see in different directions.”
Cairns won the National Basketball League game 94-81.