15 Worst Sports Injuries of All Time

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Gruesome, Career-Ending, Crazy Injuries

Source: Jerry Lai- USA Today Sports

An injury is something that almost every athlete faces at some time or another. Some of them heal quickly, but others are career-ending. Then you have to consider the nature of the event. Was it Gruesome? Could you even tell that the player was hurt before you realized they weren’t moving? The list of these athletes could go on for days but I tried to include a variety of sports and injuries in this slideshow.

Don’t worry, I didn’t include Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls as one of the worst injuries in sports. His injury was actually very graceful compared to most. Since he’s been injured and contemplated coming back for the playoffs, I thought he deserved the title page. He kind of played a game with his fans by participating in pre-game warm-ups but then we never saw him on the court this season.

Luckily for Rose, he is young and will be able to heal and return to basketball. But some guys aren’t so lucky. Not all of these guys had that type of opportunity. Athletes learn from their injuries. They learn that it’s important to make a full recovery and they learn how to cope when they’re not able to play the sport that they love. However, I think that they also learn more about the game. When these guys have to sit out, they can see how their teammates perform without them; they realize that every player has an important role.

The injuries included on this list are mostly gruesome ones. Body parts dislocate, blood shoots everywhere, bodies don’t always move. These guys have had some of the scariest injuries possible. Some of them lucked out and continued their career, while others were forced to retire early due to the severity of their injury.

In order to take a good look and review the injury, I’ve included a video of each athlete’s injury. Fair warning, some of these are pretty gruesome, you may want to skip the videos if you have a sensitive stomach. I saved the best, as well as most recent injury for last so make sure you go all the way through! Enjoy!

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Sid Vicious

Source: wikimedia

They re-play the injury for this wrestler from almost every angle but it only takes one shot to see how brutal it is. This injury caused the wrestler to retire for good.

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Kendry Morales

Source: Kevin Kuo- USA Today Sports

This video isn't a collision or being hit by a pitch. What else could it be? Sadly, it happened during the celebration of a walk-off homerun for the Los Angeles Angels. It resulted with a broken leg and required surgery to fix. He had to sit out more than one season to completely heal from the celebration gone-wrong.

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Richard Zednik

Source: wikimedia

Zednik's injury was pretty unique but this proves how sharp hockey skates can be. After taking a little trip on the ice, Zednik's throat was slashed by a skate. It was so bad that there was blood gushing out and they had to have the zamboni come out to clean the ice for 20 minutes. His neck required multiple surgeries and a lot of lost blood but doctors were never concerned for Zednik's life. Either way, it was quite the traumatic event.

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Eric LeGrand

Source: The Star Ledger- USA Today Sports

This is one of the saddest injuries that has ever happened in sports. While playing football for Rutgers University in 2010, LeGrand took a hit that has left him paralyzed for life. I don't think anything can get worse than ending your career before you even hit the pros. In 2012, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed him to a "symbolic" free-agent contract. LeGrand would have easily been a top draft choice if it wasn't for his injury and Tampa recognized that. Since then, he has unexpectedly gained some sensation throughout his body and slight movement in his shoulders.

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Marcus Lattimore

Marcus Lattimore
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

This is another recent injury that was gruesome. For the second year in a row, Lattimore had a season-ending knee injury. His ACL, PCL and LCL required repair after getting hit by a low-tackle. Despite injuries two years in a row, the NFL recognized his talent and amazing ability to make a comeback. The San Francisco 49'ers took a risk and selected Lattimore late in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft even though he wasn't able to compete at the combine events. It's going to be interesting to see how Lattimore performs with the 49er's in the future but they are aiding him in his recovery so that he can comeback at full strength.

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Evander Holyfield

Source: John David Mercer- USA Today Sports

Everyone has heard about the infamous fight where Mike Tyson took a bite at Holyfield's ear. It literally took a piece off, and to this day you can tell where Tyson ripped off the skin on the upper half.

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Shaun Livingston

Source: Thomas Campbell- USA Today Sports

Growing up, Livingston played for my rival high schools, Peoria Richwoods and Peoria Central in Illinois. We all said that he should go to college for a year to play ball because he wasn't big enough or strong enough, he had even signed with the top-ranked Duke Blue Devils. I think we made our point when Livingston dislocated and tore almost every muscle in his knee during his third season with the Los Angeles Clippers. I don't think I have ever seen an injury as clear cut as this one.

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DeAndre Brown

Source: Howard Smith- USA Today Sports

While playing for Southern Miss in the 2008 New Orleans Bowl, Brown somehow snapped his leg. It looks like his foot may have just gotten stuck on the turf. This would have been a lot less gruesome if Brown wouldn't have held his leg up in the air after the injury. The damage wasn't as bad as it looked but he hasn't done too well since then. He was an undrafted free agent in 2011 for the Philadelphia Eagles but they released him a whopping 12 days later.

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Joe Theismann

Source: wikimedia

Theismann's injury is considered one of the most shocking moments in history. New York Giants' Lawrence Taylor took a hard hit to Theismann that resulted in a career-ending injury. His tibia and fibula were fractured in his right leg. Due to the severity of the break, the leg was not able to heal correctly and his right leg is now shorter than his left.

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Allan Ray

Source: wikimedia

Don't confuse Allan Ray with current Miami Heat star Ray Allen. Allan Ray played college ball at Villanova and then spent one year with the Boston Celtics. While with the Celtics, Ray took a hit to the eye and the pupil of his eye literally dislocated from it's socket. It's not "career-ending" but it was pretty gruesome. If you watch, you can literally see the white part of his eye move away from his face. It was pretty disgusting and I'm sure a little bit scary at the time.

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Chris Kuper

Source: Chris Humphreys- USA Today Sports

At first glance, it looks like Kuper's shoe came off. Then you take a closer look and realize his foot is just completely reversed. Kuper was in the last game of the 2011 season for the Denver Broncos. Though he struggled with the injury, Kuper came back to play seven games for the Broncos in 2012.

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Mike Utley


This was a devastating career-ending injury for the Detroit Lions linesman. Taking a hard hit, Utley faced injury to his sixth and seventh cervical vertebrae. As they were taking him off the field, Utley gave the crowd a thumbs-up but due to the severity of the injury, Utley became paralyzed from the chest down. The thumbs-up sign is now the logo for the Mike Utley Foundation, which has the goal of finding a cure for paralysis.

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Patrick Edwards

Source: Thomas Campbell- USA Today Sports

His injury wasn't the most gruesome and definitely wasn't career-ending but it was pretty unique. While playing football for the University of Houston Cougars, Edwards mis-judged his distance between him and a motorized cart at Marshall. When he hit the cart, he suffered a compound fracture to his leg. He contemplated legal action but nothing was ever pursued. Edwards was undrafted in 2012 but signed free-agent with the Detroit Lions.

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Börje Salming

Source: Tom Sczerbowski- USA Today Sports

To this day, you can still see the damage on Salming's face. I couldn't find a video of the incident so I included a tribute video to Salming instead. While playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Salming was pushing into Gerard Gallant of the Detroit Red Wings and caught some of his skate. The only thing is, he took the skate directly to the face. Above his eyebrow, all the way to his chin, the skate sliced his face. He had over 200 stitches on his face and had to undergo facial surgery to get his face back to normal.

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Kevin Ware

Source: Jamie Rhodes- USA Today Sports

And the most recent and possibly most gruesome injury goes to Kevin Ware of the Louisville Cardinals. Be thankful that I didn't include the close-up picture of this one. The result of this one was a compound fracture to his tibia and Ware's bone was literally sticking out five inches. Doctors don't expect the injury to be career-ending but they did say that it will take about a year to heal. One of the best parts of this video is honestly the reactions the coaches and players from both teams. Some of them even had to throw up after the gruesome injury.