Athletes' 15 Most Bizarre Off-Field Injuries

Sporting injuries are part of the game – there's no question about that. All athletes, no matter what sport they specialise in, face the risk of injury when they decide to go professional. Of course, they get paid a lot of money for the risk. The most likely way for an athlete to get injured, then, is on the field, but many of them get hurt away from the game in less noble pursuits, which can cost them their playing time.

Athletes have a responsibility to be cautious in decisions they make when they're not playing – most of which are outlined in their contracts – precisely so that they won’t get hurt and put their careers in jeopardy. Some athletes have made irresponsible decisions – such as riding a motorcycle too fast, or participating in extreme winter sports – that get them into trouble.

However, many athletes have become the victim of freak accidents and sheer dumb luck (for some reason baseball players seem to be cursed) that have sadly been the source of many laughs and jokes, but have also cost some of them important games.

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15 Jose Canseco: Shot His Own Hand

Jose Canseco is an ex MLB player who publicly admitted to using steroids during his career and even wrote a tell-all book in 2005 alleging that most baseball players use enhancement drugs. With all the possible injuries Canseco could have under his belt as an athlete with a career in baseball - and afterwards some experience in boxing and martial arts - Canseco still managed to claim one of the weirdest injuries just this month.

While reportedly cleaning his gun in his Las Vegas Home, Canseco accidentally shot himself in the hand and is now recovering from surgery.

14 John Smoltz - Burnt His Chest With A Hot T-Shirt

Now a sports broadcaster, John Smoltz is a former professional baseball player. The Atlanta Braves retired his number 29 in April 2010.

In 1990, Smoltz had to miss a game for a burn on his chest that he reportedly got by putting on a t-shirt that was still blazing hot from the dryer. He has been made fun of for actually trying to iron his shirt while he was wearing it, yet he denies that. No matter, neither story is flattering for Smoltz.

13 Brian Griese - Trampled On (By His Dog)

Former NFL quarterback Brian Griese suffered a concussion in 2002 while playing for the Denver Broncos by falling down a steep driveway at a friend’s house and which actually left a bruise on his face. He went on to play his next game, refusing to sit out for such a dumb injury. He also nearly missed another game when he sprained his ankle by being trampled on by his dog. Griese is no stranger to freak accidents.

12 Adam Eaton - Accidentally Stabbed Himself In The Stomach

Adam Eaton is a former MLB player who spent his first five out of nine seasons with the San Diego Padres as a pitcher. During his time with the team, he suffered a bizarre injury after he accidentally stabbed himself in the stomach with a knife while trying to remove the plastic covering of a DVD. The cut wasn’t serious, and Eaton only missed one game to recover.

11 Lionel Simmons - Tendonitis From Too Much Video Gaming

Lionel Simmons is a retired NBA player and played his entire seven-season career with the Sacramento Kings from 1990-1997. He missed two games in his rookie season due to tendonitis in his right arm and wrist - it was later discovered that he developed this tendonitis from playing too much Gameboy. He had to be left out of several games throughout his career for this reason.

10 Wade Boggs - Fell Over Removing Cowboy Boots

Wade Boggs spent most of his 18-year professional baseball career with the Boston Red Sox, but also played and won his only World Series with the Yankees and spent his last two years with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

In June 1986, Boggs was in his hotel room trying to remove his cowboy boots but lost his balance and fell onto the sidearm of the couch. He badly bruised his ribs and had trouble breathing – he went on to play the next couple of games, but couldn’t run, left a game early and then eventually had to miss six games. He wasn’t the same for the rest of the season and ended with a record much lower than what was expected of him.

9 Glenn Healy - Cut His Hand Cleaning Bagpipes

Glenn Healy is a former NHL goaltender and avid bagpipe player. While playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs as their backup goalie, Healy reportedly severely cut his hand while cleaning his bagpipes and required 40 stitches. Thankfully, he was just the backup goalie - he needed quite a break from playing.

8 David Wells - Cut His Hand While Sleepwalking

David Wells is a former MLB pitcher, also nicknamed “Boomer,” and is now a TBS broadcaster. In 1989, Wells cut his hand by walking into a pane of glass while sleepwalking in the middle of the night. He was put on the 15 day disabled list.

7 Joe Sakic - Freak Snowblower Accident

Former Colorado Avalanche centre Joe Sakic broke three fingers and had tendon damage after an incident with a snowblower at his home in 2008. During his last year with the NHL, Sakic was playing a limited amount of games because of a herniated disk and it was while he was at home trying to heal his back that he made matters worse when he fatefully decided to try removing some snow.

6 Ken Griffey Jr. - Broke Hand In A Wrestling Match With Kids

Ken Griffey Jr., nicknamed “Junior” and “The Kid,” was an MLB player for 22 years and played mostly for the Seattle Mariners and the Cincinnati Reds, but also played briefly for the Chicago White Sox.

Griffey Jr. had to miss a game when his protective cup slipped and pinched his testicle. He also broke his playing hand in 2007 after wrestling with his young sons on his yacht in the Bahamas. He was in a cast for over three weeks.

5 Sammy Sosa - Sneezing Injuries

via reuters.com

Sammy Sosa is one of the most well known professional baseball players and has been retired since 2007. In 2004, Sosa missed a game after two powerful sneezes caused him to tear his oblique muscle and then missed a month worth of games the following season for a back injury also caused by sneezing.

Surprisingly, he isn't the only athlete to be hurt by a sneeze – Ricky Romero was put on the disabled list for 15 days in 2009 when he strained his right oblique muscle.

4 Clint Barmes - Broke Collarbone Carrying Deer Meat

via zimbio.com

Pittsburgh Pirates Todd Helton gave his fellow teammate, Clint Barmes, a package of deer meat as a gift – a gift that would cost him to miss three months of his rookie season in 2006. When carrying the meat up a flight of stairs, Barmes broke his collarbone and had to undergo surgery to repair it. The baseman had a titanium plate and nine screws inserted to help heal the bone.

3 Brandon Marshalls - Fell Into A Television

via voices.suntimes.com

Brandon Marshalls is a wide receiver for the Chicago Bears, but suffered a bizarre injury in 2008 while he was playing for the Denver Broncos. He severed an artery and a vein in his right arm by falling into a television stand while play wrestling with members of his family. He needed stitches and was in a cast for a month and then had to keep his arm in a sling for another month. He was ready to practice with the Broncos in June and later admitted that his arm was practically numb for the entire season.

2 Larry Walker - Fishing Trip Accident

via wapc.mlb.com

Fishing is usually supposed to be a relaxing activity, a stress-free environment where nothing can really go wrong. Except for former baseball player Larry Walker, who missed the beginning of his 1997 season with the Colorado Rockies. He separated his shoulder on a fishing trip in Canada.

1 Erik Johnson - Stuck In A Golf Cart

via sports.yahoo.com

NHL defenseman Erik Johnson has been playing with the Colorado Avalanche since 2010, but started his career in 2007 when he was the first overall draft pick for the St. Louis Blues. Once, out golfing with some buddies, Johnson got his foot stuck while trying to get out of his golf cart and tore his ACL and MCL in his right knee. He missed the entire 2008-2009 season.

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