DISCLAIMER: As the title implies, today's post is not for the faint of heart. If you are disturbed by graphic descriptions or visualization of injuries, then you should probably skip this post and come back tomorrow when this blog returns to a more "family-friendly" nature.
With the disclaimer out of the way, we can get to the heart of this post. Yesterday we witnessed one of the most gruesome injuries that I have ever had the displeasure to see. Kevin Ware broke his leg in Louisville's game against the Duke Blue Devils. I made a post about it on Facebook and one of my friends (Elizabeth "Breezy" Brown) suggest that I write something about bad sports injuries. That got me thinking and today I've decided to give you what I think are the most gruesome injuries in the five major American sports: football (college or pro), basketball (college or pro), MLB, NHL, and NASCAR The injuries are arranged by severity.
NASCAR: I think it's hard to argue that the worst injury in this sport would be the crash that killed Dale Earnhardt. While several other have been killed in wrecks during a race (Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin, among others), Earnhardt was the sport's biggest star. Earnhardt was instrumental in bringing the sport from small scale interest, mostly in the South, all the way to a national audience. When Earnhardt was killed during the 2001 Daytona 500, it sent shock waves throughout the sport, and NASCAR has yet to fully recover.
"Honorable" mention goes to the aforementioned Adam Petty and Kenny Irwin crashes.
Football: Along similar lines of the Earnhardt crash, the injury that I chose for the football category was sustained by Tulane DB Devon Walker. Many players have sustained very serious injuries playing football. It's a very violent sport, and on rare occasions, lives are forever altered by the decision to play football. I chose this injury for two reasons. The first reason is that, although several other players have been paralyzed during a game, this is the first one that I have heard of where the players' heart actually stopped as a direct result of the hit. The second is for the fact that it happened to a kid. He was just twenty-two years old and in the prime of his life. To have such a serious injury at such a young age is the reason he is my choice for the worst football injury.
"Honorable" mention goes to the knee injuries suffered by Marcus Lattimore and Willis McGahee, and the broken leg suffered by Joe Theismann. I have never seen legs bend like that, and I hope I never do again.
NHL: Slightly less severe in nature than the previous two injuries, my choice for the worst NHL injury has to be the one sustained by former Buffalo Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk. During a game in 1989, a player crashed into the net, and in doing so, his skate came up and severed Clint Malarchuk's carotid artery. How on earth Clint survived this injury is beyond me, but he did and has gone on to live a full life and is now an assistant coach with the Calgary Flames. How that man can stand to be anywhere near a hockey arena is also beyond me.
I honestly do not follow hockey, so I'm not well-versed enough to have an "honorable" mention for the NHL.
Basketball: Basketball isn't a sport that is known for it's physical nature. The worst injuries usually amount to sprained ankles or torn ligaments or muscles. Bad injuries in their own right, but not all that gruesome Then there's the injury that Kevin Ware suffered in the Louisville/Duke game. I didn't witness the injury live, but my curiosity got the better of me and I found the replay on YouTube later that day. I almost wish that I wouldn't have. I very nearly gagged at the sight of it, and they didn't even show the worst of it. The injury he sustained caused six inches of bone to protrude from the skin. I shudder even as I write that.
As I said, basketball isn't known for it's injuries, so I don't have an "honorable" mention here either.
MLB: In closing this post, I've decided to go a slightly different, lighter note with the MLB category. During a spring training game in 2001 Randy Johnson, then pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks, threw a fastball against the San Francisco Giants that, somehow, struck and killed a dove that had the misfortune of coming between the ball and home plate. An explosion of feathers and one dead bird later, the game eventually continued, and terrible sports fans everywhere have been laughing ever since.
"Honorable" mentions here go to Jason Kendall breaking his ankle in a game in 1999 and to Chris Snyder who fractured a testicle in 2008
For those of you who haven't seen footage of the injuries, check out the following links:
Welcome! My name is Chris Spooner. I am an overly-passionate Dolphins fan who has many opinions about his team, and the sports landscape as a whole. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy voicing them.