20 Most Gruesome Injuries in NFL History

While it might seem like an easy job to some, being a professional athlete requires countless hours of hard work and dedication, while the risk of injury looms large. Athletes get injured. No matter how tough they seem to be, one poorly placed hit or awkward movement could leave them seriously hurt. Every off-season in the NFL sees a few players lost for the year due to injuries sustained while training or in practice. Once the regular season comes along, things don’t get much better. Some players even go through entire seasons battling an injury that they sustained earlier in the year.

But there are ways of combating this. Now more than ever, teams are trying to cut down on injuries and bring players up to speed on proper technique when training as well as tackling in games. Safety is a huge concern in the NFL. Concussions being the biggest health problem in the game today, the recent discoveries on the long term effects of such an injury stress just how seriously measures against it must be taken. Most injuries require a specific amount of rehabilitation until the player can recover. They might or might not come back 100% the same but concussions can negatively affect an athlete’s well being well into their lives.

Over the course of its long history, the NFL has had its share of memorable injuries. But these instances in the game’s past are not remembered for being great achievements or for giving fans great feats of skill. They’re remembered for being cringe-worthy. Once a player gets badly injured, the intense air of competition momentarily leaves the stadium. It’s no longer about who’s scoring more points or the rivalry between two teams. It instantly becomes about the players safety and the hope that they can recover with their lives intact. Sadly this is sometimes not the case and while most players manage to get back to where they were before their injury, some are haunted by theirs for their entire lives.

20 Napoleon McCallum

19 Charles Gordon

18 Wes Welker

17 Eugene Wilson

16 Marc Mariani

15 Eric Wood

14 Jabari Greer

13 NaVorro Bowman

12 Dennis Byrd

11 Chris Kuper

10 Darryl Stingley

9 Destry Wright


8 Ed McCaffrey


7 Leonard Weaver

6 Ronnie Lott

5 Johnny Knox

4 EJ Henderson

3 Junior Seau

2 Joe Theismann

1 Kevin Everett

During the second half kickoff against the Denver Broncos, fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium were shocked to see Bills tight end Kevin Everett motionless on the turf. Everett was working kick coverage and got into a helmet to helmet collision with Dominik Hixon. The result looked very bad. The medical staff rushed to Everett’s side and soon after got him to a nearby hospital. He’d injured his neck and had emergency surgery on his fractured third and fourth vertebrae. His neck remained dislocated as he lost voluntary control of his body. His own doctor wasn’t too optimistic about his chances of walking and some even called the injury life threatening. Everett’s career was over, but he did manage to beat the odds and was walking just a few months after his surgery.

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20 Most Gruesome Injuries in NFL History