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The 25 Worst Injuries in Sports History

The 25 Worst Sports Injuries of All Time

Joe Theismann Redskins
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Nobody likes seeing their favorite player go down with a minor injury like a sprained ankle or a strained muscle. However, while those kinds of injuries can keep players on the disabled list for a long time, at least they don’t normally endanger their careers. Not all sports injuries are so mild. In fact, some are so bad that they can make your stomach turn. Here now are the 25 worst sports injuries of all time.

25. Bill Gramatica, NFL

Bill Gramatica Cardinals
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25. Bill Gramatica, NFL

Bill Gramatica Cardinals
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After successfully converting a 43-yard field goal in the first half against the New York Giants in 2001, Arizona kicker Bill Gramatica jumped up in celebration and tore the ACL in his right knee (plant leg) upon landing. He missed the rest of the season.

24. Buster Posey, MLB

Buster Posey Giants
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24. Buster Posey, MLB

Buster Posey Giants
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During a game against the Florida Marlins in 2011, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey was involved in a collision at home plate with Scott Cousins. Posey suffered a fractured fibula and torn ligaments in his ankle, requiring season-ending surgery.

23. Kendrys Morales, MLB

Kendrys Morales Angels
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23. Kendrys Morales, MLB

Kendrys Morales
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After hitting a walk-off extra inning grand slam against Seattle in 2010, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim DH Kendrys Morales jumped up with the intention of stomping on home plate. His awkward landing resulted in a fracture in his lower left leg, placing him immediately on the disabled list. Morales would not only miss the rest of the 2010 season, but he also missed all of the 2011 season due to complications in his rehab.

22. Tyrone Prothro, College Football

Tyrone Prothro Alabama
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22. Tyrone Prothro, College Football

Tyrone Prothro Alabama
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In a win against Florida in 2005, Alabama wide receiver Tyron Prothro suffered a complete fracture of both major bones (tibia and fibula) of his lower left leg, which ended his junior season. The injury was so serious that he was unable to resume his football career.

21. Steve Young, NFL

Steve Young 49ers
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21. Steve Young, NFL

Steve Young 49ers
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Steve Young is one of the toughest competitors in any sport, but one hit ended his career. Against Arizona in 1998 on Monday Night Football, Young was sacked by Cardinals' cornerback Aeneas Williams due to a missed blocking assignment and knocked out of the game with a concussion. Young would never play another down in the NFL as he was forced to retire.

20. Michael Irvin, NFL

Michael Irvin Cowboys
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20. Michael Irvin, NFL

Michael Irvin Cowboys
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During the fifth game of the 1999 season, Michael Irvin was tackled by Philadelphia's Tim Hauck after making a catch at Veterans Stadium. Irvin went head-first into the turf, was carted off the Philadelphia field on a stretcher as the Philadelphia fans cheered and was subsequently diagnosed with a narrow spinal column, forcing him into early retirement.

19. John Terry, Soccer

John Terry Chelsea
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19. John Terry, Soccer

John Terry Chelsea
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Playing for Chelsea back in the 2006-07 season, John Terry was kicked in the face by an Arsenal player and was unconscious for several minutes. Terry nearly swallowed his tongue as a result of the hit. Amazingly, he returned just two weeks later.

18. Tim Krumrie, NFL

Tim Krumrie Bengals
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18. Tim Krumrie, NFL

Tim Krumrie Bengals
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Playing for the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII, Tim Krumrie suffered the worst injury in the game's history. Krumrie was diagnosed with a broken tibia and fibula after his foot was planted in the ground. The pressure his weight put on his ankle joint caused his lower leg to snap above the joint. Krumrie recovered and played six more years.

17. Brandon McCarthy, MLB

Brandon McCarthy Athletics
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17. Brandon McCarthy, MLB

Brandon McCarthy Athletics
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In 2012, Oakland pitcher Brandon McCarthy took a line drive to the head off the bat of Erick Aybar of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. McCarthy subsequently underwent surgery for two hours to relieve cranial pressure after CT scans revealed he had suffered an epidural hemorrhage, a brain contusion and a skull fracture. He would not pitch again that season, but he recovered and is now pitching for the New York Yankees.

16. Jack Youngblood, NFL

Jack Youngblood Rams
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16. Jack Youngblood, NFL

Jack Youngblood Rams
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As a member of the Los Angeles Rams in the 1979 season, Jack Youngblood played the entire postseason with a fractured left fibula. The injury occurred after he was double-teamed by Dallas Cowboys' linemen Rayfield Wright and Tom Rafferty. Youngblood helped get the Rams to their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history in Super Bowl XIV.

15. Evander Holyfield, Boxing

Evander Holyfield
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15. Evander Holyfield, Boxing

Evander Holyfield
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In his rematch against Mike Tyson in 1997, Evander Holyfield was the victim of some dirty tactics by Tyson. Twice in the match, Tyson bit Holyfield's ear, tearing off part of his ear. Tyson was disqualified after the second incident.

14. Marcus Lattimore, NFL

Marcus Lattimore South Carolina
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14. Marcus Lattimore, NFL

Marcus Lattimore South Carolina
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During a game against the Tennessee Volunteers in 2012, South Carolina star running back Marcus Lattimore was carted off the field after suffering an injury to his right leg. Lattimore tore his ACL, MCL and PCL and never played for South Carolina again. After being drafted in 2013, Lattimore has still not fully recovered from his injury.

13. Allan Ray, College Basketball

Allan Ray Villanova
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13. Allan Ray, College Basketball

Allan Ray Villanova
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During the 2006 Big East Tournament, Villanova guard Allan Ray was poked in the eye by Pittsburgh's Carl Krauser. His vision apparently left him for a period of time and his eyeball seemed to come loose from the socket. It turned out to be just soft tissue damage and Ray returned less than a week later.

12. Napoleon McCallum, NFL

Napoleon McCallum Raiders
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12. Napoleon McCallum, NFL

Napoleon McCallum Raiders
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During a Monday Night Football contest in 1994 against the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders' running back Napoleon McCallum suffered a complete hyperextension of his left knee. He also suffered a ruptured artery in his left knee, tore three ligaments, tore the calf and hamstring from the bone and suffered nerve damage in the knee.

11. Shaun Livingston, NBA

Shaun Livingston Clippers
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11. Shaun Livingston, NBA

Shaun Livingston Clippers
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During the 2006-07 season, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Shaun Livingston dislocated his left kneecap after landing awkwardly following a missed layup. Livingston tore his ACL, PCL and the lateral meniscus, badly sprained his MCL and dislocated his patella and tibio-fibular joint.

10. Willis McGahee, College Football

Willis McGahee Miami
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10. Willis McGahee, College Football

Willis McGahee Miami
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During the early stages of the fourth quarter of the 2003 Fiesta Bowl National Championship Game, University of Miami running back Willis McGahee suffered an injury after catching a screen pass. A hit by Ohio State's Will Allen caused McGahee to tear his ACL, MCL and PCL. McGahee was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 2003 but missed his entire rookie season because of the injury.

9. Kevin Ware, College Basketball

Kevin Ware Louisville
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9. Kevin Ware, College Basketball

Kevin Ware Louisville
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In the first half of their 2013 Elite Eight game against Duke, Louisville guard Kevin Ware landed awkwardly after trying to block a shot. Ware then suffered a compound fracture to his right leg. Inspired by their fallen teammate, Louisville dominated, then went on to win the National Championship. Ware returned following season, but after nine games, he had to redshirt in order to continue recovering.

8. Kevin Everett, NFL

Kevin Everett Bills
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8. Kevin Everett, NFL

Kevin Everett Bills
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During the 2007 NFL season opener against the Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills backup tight end Kevin Everett sustained a fracture and dislocation of his cervical spine. He laid on the field for several minutes before being taken off on an ambulance. Everett would never play in the NFL again.

7. Bethany Hamilton, Surfing

Bethany Hamilton
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7. Bethany Hamilton, Surfing

Bethany Hamilton
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In 2003, Bethany Hamilton was in for the fight of her life doing what she loved: surfing. She was attacked by a shark and lost most of her left arm just below the shoulder. When Hamilton was rushed to a hospital, she had lost 60 percent of her blood and went into shock. Amazingly, Hamilton survived and returned to surfing just three weeks later.

6. Eric LeGrand, College Football

Eric LeGrand Rutgers
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6. Eric LeGrand, College Football

Eric LeGrand Rutgers
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On a play that was similar to Kevin Everett's injury in 2007, Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand suffered a severe spinal injury after covering a kickoff against the Army Black Knights. LeGrand laid motionless on the ground for several minutes before being carted off. He was paralyzed from the neck down after fracturing his C3 and C4 vertebrae.

5. Richard Zednik, NHL

Richard Zednik Panthers
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5. Richard Zednik, NHL

Richard Zednik Panthers
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During the 2007-08 NHL season, Florida Panthers forward Richard Zednik suffered a severe and potentially life threatening injury. Zednik was struck in the neck by a skate, slicing his external carotid artery open and causing it to spray a trail of blood onto the ice. Zednik lost five units of blood but survived and returned to the ice.

4. Bryce Florie, MLB

Bryce Florie Red Sox
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4. Bryce Florie, MLB

Bryce Florie Red Sox
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During the 2000 season, Boston Red Sox pitcher Bryce Florie was hit in the face by a line drive by the New York Yankees' Ryan Thompson, causing multiple broke bones and eye damage.

3. Joe Theismann, NFL

Joe Theismann Redskins
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3. Joe Theismann, NFL

Joe Theismann Redskins
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During a Monday Night Football game in 1985 against the New York Giants, Washington quarterback Joe Theismann suffered a compound fracture of his right leg after being sacked by New York Giants linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson. Theismann also fractured both the tibia and the fibula, and he was forced to retire.

2. Salim Sdiri, Track and Field

Salim Sdiri
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2. Salim Sdiri, Track and Field

Salim Sdiri
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In 2007 during the IAAF Golden League in Rome, French long jumper Salim Sdiri was struck in the scapula by a javelin thrown by Finland's Tero Pitkamaki. The javelin tore a hole in his liver and punctured his right kidney.

1. Clint Malarchuk, NHL

Clint Malarchuk Sabers
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1. Clint Malarchuk, NHL

Clint Malarchuk Sabers
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Clint Malarchuk suffered the worst sports injury of all time when his throat was slashed by a skate back in 1989. He severed his carotid artery and blood was visible all over the ice. Malarchuk lost a third of the blood in his body and It took doctors a total of 300 stitches to close the wound, but he survived and returned to the ice not long afterwards.