Top 15 Miraculous Recoveries in Sports

Being able to play through pain is often a requirement once an athlete reaches the professional ranks. This is so frequently the case that players are often asked whether they are hurt or whether they are injured. If they are just hurt, then it is expected that the athlete ought to continue to compete. But if the athlete is truly injured, that is often the threshold where it becomes acceptable for the athlete to exit the field of play with their pride intact. Well, it becomes acceptable for some athletes.

There are always exceptions to any rule, and sometimes even the most serious of injuries cannot keep an athlete from competing. Throughout the years, there have been many examples of athletes who have gone above and beyond in order to return to competition much sooner than expected after suffering a serious injury. In some cases, players have returned months ahead of schedule by taking on the rehabilitation process with an aggressive mindset. Others opted for quick fixes for their injury, sometimes mortgaging the future of their career in order to compete in the most important moments in sport.

Of course, many of these athletes also have a flair for the dramatic, and the best miraculous recoveries often come in the most meaningful times in the season. The most memorable moments occur when an athlete is able to not only quickly recover from an injury, but is also able to succeed in spite of the injury. It adds a certain feeling of otherworldliness and exceptional heroism, as though there is an acknowledgement that only the toughest and most competitive of athletes are able to overcome an injury and still perform at the highest level. What follows are 15 of those athletes who have made the most miraculous recoveries in sports.

15 Ray Lewis 

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

14 Ben Hogan


13 Rajon Rondo 

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

12 Brett Favre


11 Bobby Hurley

Jonathan Daniel /Allsport"

10 Kerri Strug


9 Steve Yzerman


8 Willis McGahee


7 Jeff Green

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

6 Kirk Gibson


5 Earl Thomas

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

4 Curt Schilling


3 Ronnie Lott


2 Adrian Peterson

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

1 Willis Reed


No one was sure if Reed would be able to play in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals after the Knicks star tore a muscle in his thigh during Game 5 of the same series. He did not warm up with his teammates before the game, instead remaining in the locker room to receive an injection to minimize the pain he experienced, according to Reed’s miraculous recovery became one of the most iconic moments in sports history, as New York’s captain emerged to raucous cheers from the crowd and scored the game’s first four points, spurring the Knicks along to victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Top 15 Miraculous Recoveries in Sports