As we all know in sports, injuries are a part of the game. Nobody wants them to happen; nobody likes them when they do. Some injuries are worse than others. That is why teams have certified athletic trainers, team doctors and specialists on staff. They are there to help the athletes compete to the best of their abilities each and every day.
I am an athletic trainer. When I go to a sporting event, my hope and prayer beforehand is that I won’t have to do anything except ice down some sore joints after the event. That means that everyone played safely and no injuries occurred. Usually, there are a few times that someone needs something from the medical staff. A new tape job, stopping some bleeding, stretching out a cramping muscle are all par for the course. Every so often, however, there is an injury that is a freak injury. Something that nobody sees coming. Something like what happened to Gordon Hayward 5 minutes into his Boston Celtic career. With his gruesome injury, here are a few of the worst injuries that make even me cringe.
WARNING- These videos will be graphic. If you are squeamish, you might want to go check out a different article. Or just don’t click on the videos. These are in no particular order. You have been warned.
Gordon Hayward- 2017
Hayward broke his tibia and dislocated his ankle on this awkward fall. The worst part about dislocating something is that it has to be put back into place. That takes place usually on the court or field and without any pain medication. Prayers go out to him and his family for a fast and full recovery.
Joe Theismann- 1985
Joe Theismann broke his leg when he was sacked by Lawrence Taylor on Monday Night Football. The Redskins ran a flea-flicker but Theismann never had the chance to throw the ball. Linebacker Lawrence Taylor sacked Theismann and Theismann’s right leg snapped between the ankle and the knee, ending his playing career.
Anderson Silva- 2013
Silva is arguably the best MMA fighter of all time. There are others in the discussion but that’s for another time and place. At UFC 168, Silva was trying to regain his middleweight title that he had lost to Chris Weidman in his previous fight. Weidman checked an inside leg kick and Silva’s leg complete snapped. It wrapped around Weidman’s leg and flopped around. He had surgery and they placed a rod in his leg and some screws. He has fought a few times since then and wants to continue fighting.
Akil Mitchell- 2017
Akil Mitchell was playing for the New Zealand Breakers when he was battling for a rebound. He was poked in the eye and his eye actually came out of its socket. He was rushed to the hospital and they were able to save his eye and his vision. A month later he regained complete vision. He now wears protective eye goggles when playing. I don’t blame him.
Clint Malarchuk- 1989
This is one of the scariest injuries I’ve ever seen. A skate caught Malarchuk in the neck, slicing his jugular vein. Blood instantly came pouring out. He lost ⅓ of his blood and needed 300 stitches to close the wound. The craziest thing to me is that he was back playing 11 days later.
Paul George- 2014
While playing with Team USA in the lead up to the 2014 Olympics, Paul George landed awkwardly after trying to block a shot. He had a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula. His broken bones were sticking outside of his body. That’s terrible and it set back his career for a year. He has since recovered and been an all-star twice. He was also one of the first people to reach out support to Gordon Hayward.
Willis McGahee- 2002
In the national title game, Willis McGahee took a screen pass and looked to move upfield. Will Allen came flying through to make a tackle before the play could develop. He went low and McGahee’s knee gave way. He tore his ACL, PCL, and MCL. He went on to have a good career with the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns.
Kevin Ware- 2013
During the Elite Eight, Louisville was playing against Duke. Louisville guard Kevin Ware tried to block a shot and landed awkwardly. His leg snapped and he had a compound fracture of his tibia. Coaches, players, and fans were all in shock at this injury. He has since recovered and is currently playing professionally in Greece.
Jeremy Lane- 2015
The Super Bowl. It is the goal for every football player everywhere. Cornerback Jeremy Lane picked off a Tom Brady pass in Super Bowl XLIX at the goal line and tried to return it for as much as he could. He broke a tackle and made it to the sideline before Julian Edelman tripped him up. Lane landed on his arm and his forearm snapped. He recovered and is one of the starting cornerbacks for the Seattle Seahawks.
Randy Johnson was pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks in a spring training game. A dove just happened to fly into the direct path of a fastball delivered by Johnson. Feathers exploded everywhere as the ball impacted the bird. The dead bird ended up near the on-deck circle. PETA wanted to file charges against the Big Unit. It was one crazy play.