Here are the worst sports injuries in history. Who ever knew that athletic harm could be so life-threatening? Number 7: Evander Holyfield When it comes to box office draws, few heavyweight boxers have ever had Mike Tyson’s power. As the youngest heavyweight world champion in history, he was renowned for his ability to dominate his opponents and to end fights quickly, usually by way of knockout. In his prime Tyson was a force to be reckoned with. Despite having many spectacular moments in the ring, he would also be remembered for one of the sport’s most notorious displays of unsportsmanlike conduct. In 1997 he fought Evander Holyfield for the world title, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. In the third round while the two fighters were in a clinch, Tyson took a bite out of Holyfield’s right ear. He bit out a one inch piece of cartilage and spat it on the ring floor. Upon seeing this, Mills Lane, the bout’s referee, had initially intended to stop the fight.
However, he decided on deducting two points from Tyson’s score instead. The fight continued. As the two fighters clinched once more, Tyson bit his opponent again, and this time on the left ear. One of the commentators said ‘It’s like Dracula time, I’ve never seen anything like this in boxing.’ Even though the injury sustained by Holyfield was not life threatening, his reaction in the ring would indicate that it was certainly painful. The bout was eventually stopped. More and more people started to enter the ring. The police came into the ring as well in an attempt to restore order. The event resulted in Tyson’s suspension from boxing. Many fans of the sport look back at the incident and mark it as the beginning of the end for Iron Mike’s career. Number 6: Andrew Bogut While he was playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, Andrew Bogut sustained a massive injury that would bench him for the rest of the season. In a match against the Phoenix Suns, the Bucks were on the fast break with Bogut at the front.
He was closely marked by Amare Stoudemire from the Suns. Following a long pass from one of his teammates, Bogut was making his way towards the basket with Stoudemire in pursuit. When the Milwaukee center went for the slam dunk, very light contact from Stoudemire caused him to hit the basket at an awkward angle and lose control of his jump. He fell on his right arm breaking his hand, spraining his wrist and dislocating his elbow. The incident prompted an instant ‘Oh, no’ from one of the commentators and the arena started booing Stoudemire. His involvement in the incident was later perceived as minimal, as the contact had not been strong enough to destabilize Bogut, who stood at 7 feet and 260 pounds (or meters and 188 kilograms).
Bogut eventually recovered and continued to play in the NBA although many considered that, for a long time, the injury had a negative impact on his jumper and on his free throw ability. Number 5: Andranik Karapetyan The Armenian weightlifter was one of the favorites in his 77-kilogram (or 170 -pound) division for winning the gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. He had previously won the European Weightlifting Championship and had received a bronze medal at the 2016 World Championship. However, during his attempt to lift 195 kilograms (or 430 pounds) in the clean and jerk competition, Karapetyan hyperextended his left arm which caused his elbow to pop out of its socket. His trainers and the spectators who had witnessed the injury were horrified as Karapetyan’s screams filled the arena.
The 20-year-old Olympian was taken to the hospital. Early medical reports were promising and had him heading towards a full recovery. Number 4: David Busst On April 8, 1996, David Busst suffered one of the worst injuries in soccer history in a match between his team Coventry City and Manchester United. Two minutes into the match, Coventry was awarded a corner. Even though Busst was a defender, he moved forward. After the corner was executed the ball was deflected by United’s goalkeeper, Peter Schmeichel. The ball was in the air and Busst was heading towards it when he collided with two Manchester United players, Denis Irwin and Brian McClair.
They came at Busst from different directions and crashed into him. The impact caused a compound fracture to the tibia and fibula of Busst’s right leg. He described the event “I knew something serious had happened; something wasn’t in the place it should have been. I could see from the reaction of people around me.” What the players saw was his shin bent into an L shape instead of being straight. He said, “I didn’t look down, you go into shock mode. The pain is excruciating. You freeze. You think any movement will make it worse.” Peter Schmeichel reportedly started throwing up after seeing that one of the bones had broken through the skin. In the footage he can be seen covering his face in horror. Schmeichel and other players needed counseling after the incident.
He was taken off the pitch by stretcher. At the hospital he underwent 26 operations before his leg was finally fixed. On November 6, 1996, he announced his retirement from soccer. Number 3: Joe Theismann This is one of the most famous injuries to ever happen in pro sports. Players and fans look back at the Theismann injury as a key moment in the history of the National Football League (or NFL). It took place during a 1985 Monday night game between Theismann’s team, the Washington Redskins, and the New York Giants. The play was a flea-flicker. Theismann handed the ball to teammate John Riggins.
After taking a few steps in the Giants’ defense, Riggins flipped the ball back to Theismann. As the 36-year-old quarterback searched for options downfield, Giants linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson were charging at him from both sides. Theismann managed to dodge Carson, but couldn’t avoid Taylor. The linebacker—who weighted 240 pounds (or 109 kilograms)—pounced on the quarterback and dragged him to the ground.
During the tackle Theismann’s leg got caught under Taylor’s weight. Footage from the game shows a distressed Taylor alerting the medical staff and holding his hands on his helmet in complete shock. Theismann’s lower right leg was shattered. Both his tibia and fibula had been broken and one of the bones even pierced through the skin. He was carried off the field. His football career was over.
Theismann described the injury, saying that ‘It sounded like two muzzled gunshots. Almost immediately, from the knee down, all the feeling was gone in my right leg’. The bone damage was so severe that even after surgery his right leg was slightly shorter than it had been. Number 2: Clint Malarchuk One of the most gruesome injuries in recent sports history was the one sustained by hockey goalie Clint Malarchuk. On March 22, 1989, Malarchuk and his team, the Buffalo Sabers, squared off against the St. Louis Blues in Buffalo, New York. As his teammate Uwe Krupp and St. Louis Blues player Steve Tuttle were fighting for the puck, they both crashed into the goal. There was some contact and after a few seconds Malarchuk took off his goalie mask and started holding his neck.
Tuttle’s skate had sliced open his throat. Blood immediately started pouring out of the goalie’s neck as he dropped to his knees covering the wound with his hands. The arena was in shock as blood began to pool around him. There were 11 people in the arena that fainted, two had heart attacks and 3 of Malarchuk’s teammates starting throwing up. Malarchuk described the injury during an interview ‘All I wanted to do was get off the ice. My mother was watching the game on TV, and I didn’t want her to see me die.’ He left the ice assisted by his trainer and the referee. It was determined that the skate’s blade had severed the carotid artery and also clipped his jugular vein. After asking that someone call his mother, Malarchuk requested a priest. He said, ‘As my heart would beat, it would squirt.
I thought I was dying then, I really did. I knew it was my jugular vein and I thought I didn’t have long to live’. If the wound had been an eighth of an inch higher he would have died within two minutes. Fortunately for him, Jim Pizzutelli, the Buffalo Sabre’s trainer, had been an Army medic in Viet Nam. His quick intervention would prove to be vital. Pizzutelli reached into the wound and pinched the artery in order to stop Malarchuk from losing anymore blood. He was immediately taken to the hospital where 300 stitches were necessary to close the massive cut. Despite the seriousness of the injury and his doctor’s recommendation, Malarchuk returned to the ice and the position of goaltender for the regular season’s finale on April 2, 1989, a little over a week after his brush with death. Number 1: Ray Chapman On August 16, 1920, during an MLB (or Major League Baseball) game between the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees, Ray Chapman was fatally injured. At that time it was common practice for pitchers to ‘dirty up’ a new ball once it was put into play.
This meant that they would smear the ball with dirt, licorice and tobacco juice so that it had a more ‘earthly color’ making it harder to see. The ball was also sandpapered, scarred and scuffed on purpose so that its trajectory would be harder to predict. This was suspected as being one of the reasons behind Chapman’s injury and subsequent death. He was struck in the face by a fastball from Yankees pitcher Carl Mays. The sound of the ball hitting Chapman’s skull was so intense that initially Mays thought the ball had hit his bat. Those who witnessed the incident said that Chapman never made any effort to dodge the ball, presumably because he couldn’t’ see it. The Cleveland Indians player then collapsed on his knees, with blood pouring out of his left ear. He was able to walk off the field but when he attempted to speak, he could only mumble. He was taken to a New York hospital where doctors found that he had a depressed fracture in his skull of around inches (or 9 centimeters) in length. Pieces of his skull had broken off and lacerated parts of his brain. 12 hours later he was pronounced dead.
To this day, Ray Chapman is the only MLB player whose death was the result of injuries sustained during a game..
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