Warning: The content you are about to witness is some of the most gruesome footage from the world of sports. Chances are, if you’re an avid sports fan you have seen your fair share of injuries, and I’m not just talking about a basketball player coming down awkwardly on their foot either.
I’m talking about knee twisting, arm bending, stomach churning injuries. With LeBron James cramping up in Game 1 of the NBA Finals this week, perhaps it would be a good time to show what real injuries look like. Dislocated elbows and fingers bending the wrong way are some of the most common injuries that doctors report seeing. There has also been an increase in the amount of ligament tears in the knees and other joints, a trend that has encouraged coaches to start to preach how to protect yourself as a player a little more than in previous years.
The following are some of the most brutal injuries to occur in the world of sports in the past several decades. For the most part, these athletes came out alright in the end. But at the time of the injury, there was no doubt that fans were thinking the two worst words you’d want to hear as a professional athlete; career-ending. If we missed any, feel free to drop a line in the comment section and help add to the list!
10 Navorro Bowman (San Francisco 49ers) -- Torn ACL/MCL
9 Rashad Johnson (Arizona Cardinals) -- Severed Finger Tip
8 Tim Hudson (Atlanta Braves) -- Broken Ankle
7 Kevin Ware (Louisville Cardinals) -- Broken Leg
6 Clint Malarchuk (Buffalo Sabres) -- Lacerated Throat
5 Wilis McGahee (University of Miami Hurricanes) -- Torn ACL/MCL/PCL
4 Jessica Dube (Canadian Figure Skating) -- Lacerated Cheek
3 Steve Moore (Colorado Avalanche) -- Broken Vertebrae/Concussion
2 Mike Cameron (New York Mets) -- Broken Nose/Jaw
1 Joe Theismann (Washington Redskins) -- Broken Leg
As one of the most well-known injuries on this list, Joe Theismann’s broken leg is one of the many examples of why playing the quarterback position requires so much toughness. On November 18, 1985, Theismann dropped back in the pocket to throw a pass, only to be met by Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor. During the hit, Taylor’s knee came down on Thiesmann’s right leg and snapped his tibia and fibula. At the age of 36, Theismann was forced to retire from the NFL as the compound fracture led to insufficient bone growth of his leg and to this day remains shorter than his left leg. The injury also became a leading reason as to why the left tackle is the second highest-paid player on the field; to protect the quarterback at all costs.
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