Professional athletes have to worry about injuries each time that they participate in sporting events. In sports such as football or rugby, players are always one hit away from being sidelined, potentially indefinitely. Even top-tier athletes suffer problems such as a torn ACL or a broken bone from taking one misstep. One can only do so much to protect one’s self while on the field of battle.
Sometimes, however, the fates are just against a person.
Athletes have suffered significant injuries while engaged in everyday activities that are usually, for the rest of us, harmless. Others, however, only have themselves to blame. You may have seen on the news or on the Internet that former Major League Baseball star Jose Canseco recently suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound that cost him a middle finger.
Canseco was not the first person in the sports world to literally shoot himself. One of the more famous cases involved a Super Bowl champion who learned the hard way that carrying a loaded weapon into a New York City nightclub is not wise.
Here are 10 weird and extremely awkward sports injuries.
10. Plaxico Burress Shoots Himself in Leg
All was going well for the New York Giants in November of 2008. Then-star wide receiver Plaxico Burress went out for a night on the town while carrying a handgun. The gun was accidentally discharged, Burress was wounded in the leg, and his life and New York’s season were both altered in an instant.
Burress was immediately suspended by the Giants. He would never play for the club again, and Burress was ultimately forced to complete a stint in prison. The Giants, meanwhile, weren’t the same without their No. 1 wide receiver. While they went on to win the NFC East, New York proved to be nothing more than a one-and-done playoff team. Insult was added to injury when the Giants lost to division rivals the Philadelphia Eagles at home in January.
9. Brian Giles Sidelined With Spider Bites
Brian Giles was a hit right out of the gates upon joining the Cleveland Indians in the mid-90s. While not the world’s best outfielder, Giles quickly established himself as a lineup mainstay, one capable of launching home runs over walls and even out of Jacobs Field. Giles was listed at 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, but he was built more like a professional wrestler than a Major League Baseball outfielder. Nothing could hurt him.
Except for what some would say is a top fear.
Giles was forced to sit out several games during the 1998 campaign after he sustained several spider bites. The bites were so severe that Giles required shots of antibiotics in order to recover.
Perhaps those who suffer from arachnophobia are on to something.
8. Marty Cordova Falls Asleep in Tanning Bed
Now retired Major League Baseball left fielder Marty Cordova struggled with injuries throughout his professional career. He was unable to take the field for roughly a season and a half over a three-year period. The 1995 American League Rookie of the Year hit his ceiling early, and operations on his elbow ended his MLB career following the 2003 season.
Cordova is nowadays largely known for a day during which he took a snooze; while inside of a tanning bed. He was, as one would imagine, burned by the bed, so much so that doctors advised that he do whatever possible to remain out of the sun. The incident cost Cordova action during afternoon games.
7. Gus Frerotte Headbutts Wall
Memo to all young football players out there: A helmet can and will only protect you from so much.
Frerotte was delighted to have scored a rushing touchdown against the New York Giants during the 1997 season. As is often the case for players who have accomplished such a feat, Frerotte desired to celebrate reaching the end zone. He could have spiked the ball before gathering with teammates. Another option would have been to leap into the crowd such as what often occurs whenever players on the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns score during home games.
Frerotte chose none of those. He instead headbutted a wall that, while padded, was made of cement. Frerotte knocked himself silly and suffered a sprained neck.
6. Sneeze Sinks Sammy Sosa
A powerful sneeze can be a wonderful feeling. It removes the tickling feeling from the nose. Letting one out can leave a person feeling unclogged. The action is also involuntary, and thus there isn’t much once can do about a sneeze when it comes around besides, well, letting it out.
Major League Baseball slugger Sammy Sosa probably thought nothing of it when he felt a sneeze on the horizon in May 2004. Not one but two violent sneezes brought on back spasms, and Sosa was left with a sprained ligament in his back because of the event. The injury was so bad that Sosa had to be placed on the disabled list.
Add your own “nothing to sneeze at” jokes as you wish.
5. Kendrys Morales Walk-Off Leads to Carry-Off
There is nothing, not a game-winning field goal or a last-second shot, that beats a walk-off home run. Everybody in the home crowd rises to their feet as the ball majestically soars over the wall and into the stands. Players rush out of the home dugout and toward the plate to greet the conquering hero. The man of the hour jogs around the diamond to meet his teammates.
Leaping on the plate with all of your strength is not recommended.
Morales left his feet to stomp onto home plate after hitting a walk-off on May 29, 2010. He did not stick the landing, though, suffering a fracture that ruined what should have been a joyous moment. Morales would not play in the Big Leagues again until 2012.
4. Erik Johnson Gets Foot Stuck in Golf Cart
One would think that using a golf cart rather than carrying bags around a course would decrease the risk of injury. The cart eliminates any shoulder strains that could occur from lugging a bag to hole after hole after hole. Legs are kept fresh by only having to walk from the cart to either the tee or to the ball. What could go wrong outside of causing an accident due to recklessly operating the vehicle?
Johnson was enjoying a pre-season golf outing when his foot was caught between the brake pedal and accelerator of the cart. He suffered two torn ligaments, and Johnson required surgery to fix the issue. Johnson missed the 2008-09 NHL season.
3. Bill Gramatica Gets Too Happy
Somebody really needs to make a guide to teach NFL players how to celebrate.
Bill Gramatica of the Arizona Cardinals was in the final month of his rookie NFL regular season when he attempted a field goal against the New York Giants. After watching the ball sail through the uprights, Gramatica jumped for joy as he raised a fist in celebration. Gramatica landed awkwardly, however, and he suffered a torn ACL.
The moment alone is good enough to land Gramatica on this list. That he was celebrating a field goal converted in the first quarter of a contest moved him up to No. 3. Stick to the basic fist pump for any field goals scored in the first 50 minutes of a football game, everybody.
2. Lew Ford Suffers Iron Burns
Ford was the star of several humorous tales during his baseball career. What actually occurred regarding an unfortunate incident involving an iron may never be known. The story goes that Ford showed up for a game with the imprint of an iron burned onto the front of his body, and some accused him of attempting to iron a shirt while he was wearing it.
Ford has denied those rumors: “I had the iron up, and I can’t remember if it fell on me or I brushed up against it, but I got a huge iron branded on my stomach. I didn’t iron with my shirt on though. But when I got in, they were like, ‘What happened? You were ironing with your shirt on?’”
What do you think happened?
1. David Seaman Really Needed to Change the Channel
We’ve all been there. There’s nothing on television. Whatever you previously settled upon for background noise is no longer doing the job. Perhaps you’ve remembered that a cheesy holiday movie is set to begin on The Hallmark Channel, or maybe a live sporting event is about to kick off. You’re so excited or anxious to change the channel that you hurriedly reach for the remote.
Former England goalkeeper David Seaman reached with a bit too much enthusiasm back in the day. This from a LA Times article posted in 2002: “Seaman needed surgery after hurting himself stretching for the remote control while watching an episode of a UK soap ‘Coronation Street.’” Remember this the next time you’re flipping through the channels.
Slow and steady wins the race.