October 9, 2012
As sports fans, we want our heroes to go out and put their body on the line to bring home the victory for us. No every team can win every week, but we often do not mind defeat if the players put everything into it. Sometimes however, they put too much into it and pick up an injury.
In most cases, the injured player has a few minutes of treatment and gets back up again. Sometimes the injury is so serious that they have to take a few weeks, or even months, out of the sport to recover. In rare cases, the injury is so serious that the player has to retire, or could even die as a result. The following are some of the worst sporting injuries of all time.
Paul Wood – Rugby League
Rugby league is pretty much a regional version of rugby played in a few areas of England, Australia and New Zealand, but that does not mean that the men who play it are not some of the toughest sportsmen on the planet. The sport has a history of hard men playing through injuries, such as John Sattler playing nearly an entire game with a broken jaw in 1970, but that was not the worst injury sustained playing the game.
On October 6, 2012 the Warrington Wolves were playing Leeds Rhinos in the Grand Final – the biggest game of the English calendar. Early in the second half, Paul Wood caught a knee to the groin in a challenge from Leeds player Kallum Watkins.
Normally that would be enough to put most men down for the count, but Wood carried on playing for another 25 minutes convinced he could run off the injury. By this time he left the field due to the pain, one of his testicles was swelling and eventually reached the size of a tennis ball. He needed emergency surgery to remove the ruptured testicle and to make things worse his side lost the match!
David Busst and Eduardo Da Silva – Soccer
Soccer players do have more chance of picking up leg injuries, but these two were among the worst of the leg injuries received over the last few seasons.
David Busst was a strong central defender playing for Coventry City when they were in the English Premier League. Just two minutes into the April 6, 1996 game against Manchester United at Old Trafford Busst went forward for a corner and was involved in a collision with Brian McClair and Denis Irwin that left him with multiple compound fractures of his right tibia and fibula. The game was held up for 12 minutes while blood was washed off the grass and several players needed counseling afterwards.
The injury was so serious that he nearly needed the leg amputating and also picked up MRSA in hospital. A total of 26 operations over the next seven months failed to fully repair the damage and he had to retire from football on medical grounds.
Nearly 12 years later, Eduardo Da Silva was a skillful striker playing for Arsenal when he was tackled badly by Martin Taylor of Birmingham City. The result was a broken left fibula and an open dislocation of the left ankle that needed immediate surgery. The tackle and injury was so bad that the TV Company covering the game refused to replay the incident. Eduardo eventually made a full recovery and now plays for Shaktar Donetsk and Croatia.
Idong Ibok – Basketball
Idong was a sophomore at Michigan State in 2007 when he fell awkwardly in the Spartans NCAA game against Marquette. His elbow bent the wrong way when he landed on it trying to break his fall. The injury was shown live on TV, but viewers were relieved to find out the player had only dislocated the elbow. Medics popped the elbow back in before Ibok took his place on the bench wearing a sling. That was the end of his season though.
Jessica Dube – Figure Skating
All of the previous injuries came during sports where you expect to see the occasional injury, but the sedate world of figure skating is more famous for its aesthetic beauty than physical contact. This all changed in the Four Continents Championship in Colorado Springs on February 8, 2007.
Dube and her partner, Bryce Davison, were performing a side-by-side camel spin when they drifted too close and her face hit his skate blade. Dube collapsed to the ice in a pool of blood and needed surgery that night to repair the cut. A total of 83 stitches held the wound together.
Salim Sdiri – Track and Field
The long jumper was standing in the warm-up area during the Rome Golden League meeting in July 2007 when he was impaled by a javelin thrown from the other end of the arena by Tero Pitkamaki. The thrower has slipped at the end of the run-up and the javelin went off to the left of the normal landing area.
Sdiri was rushed to hospital to have the javelin removed and needed surgery to repair damage to his kidney and liver.
Craig Parnham – Field Hockey
Any game that involves sticks has the potential for serious injury as the England captain found out in August 2001. A flying hockey stick caught him in the throat and shattered his larynx leaving him gasping for breath. It needed a team of specialists to rebuild his larynx and the cartilage at the top of his windpipe. Only a few months later he returned to action for his country.
Paulo Diogo – Soccer
The newly-married Diogo was playing in the Swiss league in December 2004 when he set up a goal for his team. Jumping on the fence to celebrate with fans, his wedding ring caught on the fence. When he jumped down, the ring and his finger stayed behind leaving him writhing on the floor in agony. The referee booked him for excessive celebration before realizing what had happened. Doctors were unable to re-attach the finger.
Clint Malarchuk – Ice Hockey
The goaltender for the Buffalo Sabers was caught in the throat by the skates of an opposition player who had fallen to the ice. The blade had sliced Malarchuk’s jugular and he collapsed to his knees with blood spurting across the ice. Luckily, prompt medical treatment saved his life and the three spectators who had a heart attack after witnessing the incident.
Alex Zinardi – Formula 1
Motor racing is a dangerous sport, and many drivers have lost their lives in the pursuit of success. In 2001, Zinardi was involved in a bad crash while attempting to leave the pit lane at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz. Zinardi accelerated into the path of two other drivers and one of them could not avoid his car. The resulting crash amputated both legs around the knee and only timely medical invention saved his life.
Zinardi recovered enough to drive again in a modified car but really hit the headlines in the summer when he won two gold medals and one silver in the handbiking events at the London 2012 Paralympics.
Injuries like these are usually down to bad luck but can happen to any sports star at any time. Just hope that no more sportsmen suffer like these unfortunates did.