Injuries are a part of sports. As bad as they might be it’s a risk all athletes are willing to take in order to play the game they love. An injury can ruin a career or send a team’s season spiraling out of control and as a fan it’s hard to put oneself inside that particular athletes shoes unless you’ve experienced a similar injury yourself. A part from the physical strain recovering from an injury puts on an athlete’s body, the mental battle going on during the rehabilitation is just as grueling. To be at the top of your game at one moment then have it almost taken away from you and have to work your way back from scratch is not an easy thing to deal with.
No one likes to see a player get hurt. Despite the gravity of the game being played or the rivalries involved, most fans take no pleasure in seeing another human being injured on the ground with their future livelihood in question. There are those dire moments in sports when the injury seems so bad that spectators can do nothing but quietly look on in silent horror. Those moments when an athlete lays on the field motionless and the only way to get him off is via a stretcher or cart.
These rare moments are some of the few times that onlookers and athletes alike feel genuine fear during a game. It becomes bigger than whose winning or whatever storylines were being exploited leading up to the game. It’s the one time during a game that we all come together with one mindset. The player’s safety and health becomes the only thing going through people’s minds at that moment. Usually these players make it back from injury but others aren’t so fortunate.
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16 *Disclaimer: some of these injuries are difficult to watch, so discretion is advised.
15 Kevin Ware
Freak accidents are all too common in sports. They can sneak up on even the best of players and former Louisville guard Kevin Ware was no different. While trying to block a shot during an elite eight game against Duke, Ware suffered one of the most gruesome injuries in recent memory. As he came down his right leg snapped just as he’d hit the ground. The injury was so bad it left both players and spectators stunned. Louisville would go on to win the 2013 national championship and Ware would transfer to Georgia State the following season.
14 Anthony Conner
In a game against Rutgers, Louisville defensive back Anthony Conner sustained a terrible injury while tackling Rutgers receiver Mohamed Sanu. The play initially looked like a routine tackle but it was quickly evident that it was something much worse. Conner never got up after the play and was quickly tended to by the medical staff. The initial impact had caused Conner to break his neck. Luckily though he was not paralyzed by the gruesome injury. It did however scare fans and the announcers as it did look much worse than it turned out to be.
13 Marcus Lattimore
The now retired NFL running back’s career was always in danger of being abruptly interrupted after suffering a knee injury in college. While playing for South Carolina Lattimore tore his ACL on a run play against Mississippi State. The injury itself wasn’t very gruesome looking but it was evident that something was wrong when Lattimore couldn’t get off the field on his own. He did recover eventually and made it to the NFL level but could never make a full comeback and was forced to retire.
12 Anderson Silva
Mixed martial artists are some of the toughest guys out there and while they might seem like they’re made of steel, they too, like all other athletes, can suffer devastating injuries. In a fight against Chris Weidman, Anderson Silva suddenly broke his leg on what looked like a routine kick. As the two fighters went at it, Weidman blocked one of Silva’s kicks resulting in it bending at an awkward angle. The impact of his own kick had resulted in Silva snapping his tibia in two. The injury was so severe he needed a whole year to fully recuperate.
11 Eduardo Da Silva
We’re all familiar with the grief that soccer players get for sometimes – obviously – faking injury to gain the upper hand during a match. However, the injury to former Arsenal striker Eduardo Da Silva was all too real and looked very painful. Following a tackle, Da Silva landed on the ground with his foot firmly planted. It resulted in a nasty broken fibula that was so bad, sports network Sky Sports refused to air it again despite it having occurred during a live match. It took him close to a year but Eduardo was soon back good as new.
10 Max Pacioretty
Max Pacioretty and Zdeno Chara have never had the best relationship with one another. That was only emphasized in a 2011 game against the Boston Bruins. Pacioretty was furiously bodychecked by the Bruins defenseman which left him on the ice and shocked onlookers. The hit itself was highly controversial and raised questions about the legality of such an action. There was no further action taken by the league regarding the hit besides Chara’s initial penalty. The injury prompted the NHL to take future precautionary measure by changing the stanchion between the benches.
9 Sa Jae-Hyouk
The Olympics are a time to celebrate competition and the thrill of sport. However injuries are still a frightening reality for all athletes who compete in these storied games. South Korean weightlifter Sa Jae-Hyouk experienced one of the most unsettling injuries in Olympic history back in 2012 during the London summer games. The 2008 gold medalist was attempting to lift 357 pounds when he screamed in pain and fell to the floor, prompting the medical staff to rush to his aid. It was clear that he’d injured himself in some significant way with word coming later on that he’d dislocated his elbow.
8 Jeremy Lane
This past Super Bowl was certainly memorable, but also contained one of the most unfortunate injuries in Super Bowl history. After intercepting Tom Brady early in the game – and seemingly giving Seattle the momentum early on – Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane was brought to the ground after attempting to extend the play. However, he fell to the ground awkwardly and broke his arm on the turf. It looked like a rubber dolls arm being thrust in the complete opposite direction. One of those injuries that you just knew was going to be bad. Lane was forced out of the biggest game of his career and Seattle would lose the game due to one of the most controversial play calls in sports history.
7 Sterling Sharpe
One of the most productive receivers of his time, Sterling Sharpe’s career was cut short by an injury sustained while blocking a defensive back in a game against the Atlanta Falcons. The man who led the league in receptions in 1989, 92 and 93 and in touchdowns in 1992 and 1994 was one of Green Bay’s greatest weapons and was on track to having himself a surefire hall of fame career. However, the vertebrae injury that left him lying on the field would prove to be the premature nail in the coffin for his playing days in the NFL.
6 Dijbril Cisse
Dijbril Cisse has to be one of the most unfortunate athletes out there. The soccer star had the misfortune of breaking his leg not once, but twice. Cisse has broken both of his legs in his career, with one coming in 2005 and the other in 2006. One came when planting his leg on the field while trying to maintain possession of the ball. It resulted in him breaking his tibia and fibula. The next year, he was tackled during an international game against China and fell on the floor awkwardly bending his leg and breaking his tibia.
5 Joe Theismann
Another unfortunate injury that prematurely ended a great career. Joe Theismann was the Washington Redskins franchise signal caller in the late 70s and early 80s, but a devastating hit by Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor left him on the field and later on out of the league. Theismann had twisted his knee going down. The injury was so bad, but people didn’t notice it right away. They did however take notice when Taylor was frantically signaling to the sidelines for help. The replay would later slow the play down and reveal the severity of the injury, leaving the crowd speechless.
4 Victor Cruz
This is another football injury from this past season, this time involving Giants receiver Victor Cruz. While the success of Odell Beckham Jr, might’ve caused Cruz to slip some people’s minds, he was the Giants’ most dangerous weapon prior to Beckham’s emergence. In a game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Cruz suffered a freak injury while going up to make a catch in the end zone. As he landed on the ground, he clutched his knee with a look of incredible agony on his face. The Giants star had torn his patellar tendon in his right knee. After almost a year of working his way back from the devastating injury, Cruz is looking to return to his old self this season. Though it’s a hard injury to come back from, word from Giants camp so far has been good.
3 Paulo Diogo
If we had to rank these injuries based purely on how gruesome they were, then Paulo Diogo would probably rank second. The newly married Diogo was celebrating a teammate’s goal during a blowout victory against Schaffhausen. He’d jumped up on a metal fence to interact with the audience and apparently forgot to remove his wedding ring before the game. When he jumped down his finger stayed on the fence. Yup he severed his finger. What’s worse is despite doctors’ best efforts, they were unable to reattach the finger and were forced to cut out the remaining stump. All the fans in that area were absolutely shocked bu that moment.
2 Kevin Everett
This is another example of a freak accident in sports that nearly cost an athlete their ability to walk. Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett was blocking on a kick return when he came helmet to helmet with an opposing player. After the play was ruled dead, Everett remained on the field as players were quickly scurrying off of it. He was unable to move. Medical staff was quick to rush him to a hospital. He was initially left without the use of his legs but through hard work and dedication miraculously found the strength to walk again just a few months after his injury.
1 Clint Malarchuk
This is without a doubt the goriest injury in sports. An injury so bad that it completely shocked fans and players alike. The former Buffalo Sabers goaltender had his neck cut by a stray skate and required more than 300 stitches to properly suture the wound. The blood spilled onto the ice in intense amounts. Had it not been for the quick thinking of the team's athletic trainer who stopped the bleeding long enough for him to make it to the hospital, this might've turned out much worse. Some spectators reportedly fainted and some players actually vomited at the gruesome scene.
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