In life, there is a fine line between dedication and insanity. Sports is among those areas in which that fine line is blurred and, in many cases, bled upon. Most of us are taught in our formative years that if you're hurt, for God's sake don't get up and don't run around. Just wait for mommy, she'll make it better.
Even in adult life, many of us are coddled. In Canada (for example, I can't speak for the laws in other nations) it is the responsibility of an employer to get an ergonomic assessment done for any employee who complains of pain in the work place. "Toughen up and close your mouth" is a thing of the past, and to be quite blunt; sad, wimpy, complainers are rewarded for their sad existences. With that said there are still some people who do have to pull it together and buck up.
Military members, cops and other first responder types are among the first who come to mind. There is no pause button in a war zone and there is no time for those who can't handle some pain. All respect to combat arms soldiers, they know how to shrug off pain and keep in the fight; literally. Less admirable, but still impressive are laborers; movers, construction workers and anyone who works with their hands. Stopping a job because of a boo-boo isn't always an option.
While athletes' bodies may be finely tuned machines, competitors are often asked to destroy them during a game or match. Money, glory and a reputation are on the line every time an athletes steps onto the field/ice/court, and there is rarely an excuse to stop. Concussions are often considered reason enough for an athlete to walk out of a game, but no coach wants it to happen and egos sometimes keep athletes in the game, no matter what the injury. Recently, UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo pulled out of his title defense fight against Irish smack-talker Conor McGregor, due to broken ribs. There was some buzz however, that he would seek approval to fight regardless. This did not happen, but if it had, Aldo would have joined the ranks of athletes who competed despite severe pain. Here are twenty of the most brutal injuries that athletes have fought their way through.
21 Bonus: Mike Tyson - Gonorrhea
20 20. Curt Schilling - Ankle
19 19. Derek Redmond - Torn Hamstring
18 18. Willis Reed - Torn Quad
17 17. Terry Butcher - Major Laceration
16 16. Tiger Woods - Broken Leg and Torn ACL
15 15. Franz Beckenbauer - Broken Collarbone
14 14. Walt Garrison - Broken Ribs
13 13. Rajon Rondo - Dislocated Elbow
12 12. Philip Rivers - Torn ACL
11 11. Kirk Gibson - Multiple Leg Injuries
10 10. Ronnie Lott - Destroyed/Amputated Finger
9 9. Steve Yzerman - Knee/Leg Issues
8 8. Jack Youngblood - Broken Leg
7 7. Byron Leftwich - Broken Tibia
6 6. Shun Fujimoto - Knee
5 5. Y.A. Tittle - Broken Sternum
And now we get back to football, the sport for the unnecessarily intense. Another quarterback, Y.A. (Yelberton Abraham) Tittle is a Hall of Fame member who player for the Baltimore Colts, New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers between 1948 and 1964. This was back in the days when hitting a quarterback was more encouraged. Early in his last year in the NFL, he was sacked with extreme prejudice by Pittsburgh Steeelers defensive end John Baker.
4 4. Chris Simms - Ruptured Spleen
For a quick background, the spleen is a small organ in the abdomen that is involved in filtering infection and old blood cells. In short, it stores stuff, much of which is harmful. A ruptured spleen is not only excruciatingly painful, it is also a serious medical emergency.
3 3. Bobby Baun - Broken Ankle
2 2. Brett Favre - Damaged Intestine/Broken Thumb (Among other smaller injuries)
Brett Favre was another quarterback who played with toughness not seen in the position today. There are two examples of this that stand out in his football career. In college, just before his senior year, he flipped his car and had thirty inches of intestine removed. The surgery was very invasive,and while he had improved by September, he was nowhere near 100%, when, just five weeks later, he led Southern Mississippi to a victory over Alabama.
1 1. Bert Trautmann - Broken Neck
After being born in Germany and serving in World War Two, Bert Trautmann stayed in England after being captured and held as a prisoner of war. He rose to prominence as a goal keeper and ended up playing at the highest level (Division One) in 1949 for Manchester City, where he played for fifteen years.
In 1956, he was injured while diving at an opposing player's legs to make a save. His neck was in severe pain but he would not leave the match. His team won and he was later revealed to have dislocated several vertebrae in his neck and broken two. His doctors told him it was a small miracle he was alive, as any slight shifting of these pieces of his neck could have cost him mobility or his life.
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