We see athletes as larger than life icons, heroes. They train, exercise and play sports for a living, so of course it’s easy for us to put them on a pedestal. However physically fit they may be though, no man is indestructible, not ever our heroes. There have been many incidents where athletes who’ve either been under the influence, speeding or just plain unfortunate, have been injured in a car or motorcycle accident. Not only were they injured, some along with their passengers, even passed away.
The recent incident with Cam Newton is just one of several automobile accidents involving athletes. Fortunately for Newton it was one of the lucky cases where no one was severely injured. As we take this as a lesson that we aren’t impervious to the dangers of the road, it’s also an opportunity to examine other instances where athletes have been involved in automobile accidents.
16. Josh Brent
A couple of seasons ago Dallas Cowboys DT Josh Brent was involved in a motor vehicle accident that took the life of teammate Jerry Brown. Brent was travelling with Brown in Irving, Texas when the car flipped, skidding over 900 feet before the vehicle came to a stop. Brent was sentenced to 180 days in prison and 10 years probation on January 24th, 2014. The car he was driving was going at 110 mph on a road with a 45 mph speed limit.
15. Philip Lutzenkirchen
The former Auburn star tragically passed in a car accident earlier this summer. The one time St. Louis Ram was riding in the back seat of a car driven by friend Joseph Ian Davis. Davis had a registered blood alcohol level of 0.17, almost double the legal limit in the state of Georgia where the accident took place. Lutzenkirchen had a registered blood alcohol level of 0.377 at the time of the accident. The crash took place sometime after 3 a.m. after Davis failed to stop at a T-intersection, causing the vehicle to go off the road and travel 89 feet into a ditch, overturning several times before ejecting both Lutzenkirchen and Davis and killing the former instantly.
14. Tom Brady
The Patriots standout was involved in a minor car crash back in 2010. While leaving his home Brady was struck by a red minivan while driving through a green light at an intersection near his Boston home. Brady and the other driver came out okay, but a 49-year-old passenger was brought to the hospital with serious, but not life threatening injuries. After the incident Brady was back at Gillette Stadium, having not sustained any major injuries, and the star QB was able to resume preparations for a game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
13. Bekir Karayel
Turkish marathon runner Bekir Karayel was involved in a car accident back in 2012. While driving along the Denizli-Afyon highway, Karayel lost control of his car, causing it to roll several times. The incident left four people dead and two others injured. Karayel and fellow athlete Can Kucukbilgili were injured, while two other Turkish athletes, Erkan Kus and Kasim Uludag, were killed it the wreck. Karayel finished 76th in a marathon event at the 2012 Summer Olympics shortly before the crash.
12. Oscar Taveras
Less than five months after his promising MLB debut, Oscar Taveras died in a fatal car accident in the Dominican Republic. Taveras – along with his 18-year-old girlfriend – were killed after their vehicle ran off the road, crashing into a nearby tree. The accident happened just before Game 5 of the 2014 World Series. More than 5,000 people gathered for Taveras’s funeral, and during Game 6 of the World Series a moment of silence was held. Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura wrote a number of tributes along his jersey and cleats in memory of the young slugger. It was later revealed that Taveras was driving over the legal blood alcohol limit at the time of the accident.
11. Cam Newton
The recent news of the Panthers franchise QB’s car accident was a surprise for the entire sports community, but luckily Newton came out of the ordeal with minor injuries. Newton was reportedly travelling at the speed limit when another vehicle pulled out in front of him. Both Newton and the other driver were brought to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Newton has been anchoring the struggling Panthers offense as the team continues to battle for the NFC South title one week removed from a blowout win over the Saints. Veteran Derek Anderson will take the helm when the Panthers take on the Buccaneers in week 15.
10. Dennis Rodman
The former NBA Defensive Player of the Year was riding in an SUV in South Florida back in 2010, when the vehicle flipped over after a tire problem caused the driver to lose control of the car. The driver was taken to a hospital while Rodman and another passenger were alright, leaving the incident virtually unharmed. The driver, who was sober at the time of the crash, was brought to a hospital with a gash across his head. As for Rodman, he left the incident with “a little scratch on his finger.”
9. Bob Probert
Bob Probert was a feared enforcer in his days in the NHL, but he also struggled with drug and alcohol abuse. In 1994, Probert crashed his motorcycle in a suburb located in Detroit. He came away from the potentially fatal crash with only minor injuries. Police found that his blood alcohol level was over three times the legal amount. Traces of cocaine were also found in his blood. As a result Probert would sit out the 1994-95 season before returning to the Chicago Blackhawks. Probert passed away in July of 2010 of a heart attack at the age of 45.
8. Dario Franchitti
Dario Franchitti is one of the rare cases on this list, where the individual was met with misfortune for simply doing his job. The four-time IndyCar champ suffered multiple injuries after a crash at the Houston Grand Prix. The collision sent his car into the air, leaving him with a broken back, right ankle and concussion. The injuries were so severe that Franchitti was forced to retire. He was also involved in a motorcycle accident in 2003 that left him out for the rest of that season with a major back injury.
7. Ben Roethlisberger
Back in 2006 Ben Roethlisberger gave the sports community a huge scare when he suffered several injuries after a motorcycle collision. Initially the injuries were thought to be fatal. Roethlisberger had suffered a broken jaw as well as a relatively large laceration to the back of his head. After several hours of surgery he was able to pull through, outstandingly enough. Roethlisberger was driving without a helmet and didn’t have a proper license for his motorcycle. He stated publicly that he’d take his safety into greater consideration if he ever rode again.
6. Hermann Maier
Another motorcycle accident, this time it was Olympic Skier Hermann Maier who was involved. The incident took place in 2001. The accident was terrible. The damage was so bad that many feared that Maier would never ski again. He was pulled out of the wreckage and sent to hospital where it was found out that he’d broken both of his legs. It was so bad that Maier was told that he’d never even walk again. Miraculously he made a full recovery and put up a fantastic performance at the 2006 Winter Games, winning himself a Silver and Bronze medal.
5. Dany Heatley
Just a year after having come off his fantastic rookie campaign in 2002, Dany Heatley was involved in an accident that forever changed his life, both professional and personal. Heatley was driving along with teammate Dan Snyder in Heatley’s Ferrari when Heatley lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a brick pillar. Snyder was in a coma for several days before he passed. Heatley was charged with vehicular homicide but the charge was later reduced to reckless driving. Shortly after Heatley requested a trade and was sent over to the Ottawa Senators.
4. Kellen Winslow
Kellen Winslow nearly cost himself his NFL career when he injured himself learning how to ride a sport bike in a parking lot. The incident occurred in 2005, after a leg injury caused him to miss the majority of his rookie year. Winslow’s off-the-field antics didn’t only put him in danger but landed him on I.R. for the second consecutive season, this time with an ACL tear and bad shoulder injury. After his incident NFL teams attempted to take measures preventing their players from riding motorcycles.
3. Chad Jones
Shortly after being selected in the third round of the 2010 NFL draft by the New York Giants, Chad Jones lost control of his car while in New Orleans. The car entangled with a light post and required firefighters to saw Jones and the two passengers riding along, out of the car. Though the two passengers weren’t injured Jones’s future in the NFL came to a halt that day. He suffered two shattered bones in his left leg, and a broken fibula. Doctors feared that they would be forced to amputate his leg. However, Jones underwent tiring rehab and though he was able to once again walk, he never played a down in the NFL.
2. Jay Williams
Jay Williams was expected to be the next big thing for the Chicago Bulls. The former second overall pick showed some bits of promise in his rookie year, but after a motorcycle incident in 2003 his career was cut short. The accident saw him being ejected from his bike and travelling over 10 feet after hitting a light pole. The injuries he sustained to his leg lead to the end of his NBA dreams. Though he rehabbed the injury and made several attempts at a comeback, he just wasn’t the same athlete he was before he’d crashed his bike.
1. Bobby Hurley
Bobby Hurley was once a top 10 pick in the NBA, however his development was tampered with after a car accident he was involved in during his rookie year. In 1993 while driving home from a game, the seventh overall pick collided with another vehicle. Hurley wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and was thrown through the windshield of his truck. He sustained 12 different injuries, but was alive luckily enough. However, one must wonder what kind of effect it had on his NBA career which lasted a mere four years.