Injuries happen in sports. It’s normal. When athletes give their all on the court, field or ice, something can happen. Especially in contact sports such as football, hockey or rugby. Some get right back up and fight and play through the pain, others are sidelined for a period of time. In the worst situations such accidents have ended athletes’ careers, some of them way too early, leaving many to wonder what they could have accomplished.
As the years go on, we’re starting to pay more attention to the types of injuries and what kind of damage they can do in the long run. We’re not talking about Tommy John’s surgery, but more along the lines of head injuries and concussions.
But this list isn’t about those injuries, the serious kind that have us nervous and praying for the players. This list is about the weird, freak accidents that happen in sports. Some of them happened on the field, like Ken Sanders breaking his nose, or Alex Stepney dislocating his jaw (just wait until you find out how). Others happened while in the locker room, like Chris Hanson’s foot accident or Ken Griffey Jr.’s unfortunate cup story. The even weirder ones happen far, far way from the sports venue, just ask Carlos Boozer and Glenallen Hill.
Thankfully, most of these guys were forgiven for their accidents, as stupid as the incidents were. Over the years, many of then have grown to laugh about what happened and make fun of themselves for what they did/what happened to them. One thing is for sure, most of these made us laugh, some made us cringe (some of these images are not for the faint of heart), and some just made us say, c’mon man.
So here they are, the oddest injuries in the sports world:
When Kendry Morales celebrated too hard
As is tradition, when a baseball player hits a walk off home run, the rest of the team waits for him at home plate to celebrate the victory. In this case, Kendry Morales was so excited about his grand slam against Seattle, that when he jumped up ready to celebrate in the middle of a ring of teammates, he landed awkwardly, slipped on home plate itself and landed on his ankle. He broke his ankle while celebrating.
The sneeze that sprained a ligament
Ever sneeze so hard you injured yourself? Probably not. But Sammy Sosa did. One day, the right fielder sneezed so hard he injured his back. More specifically, he sprained a ligament. Sosa would go on to miss a month of baseball. But he’s not the only one. In 2015, the Toronto Blue Jays Kevin Pillar sneezed during a pregame and sustained a Grade 1 strain to his right oblique. He was the ninth player to injure himself while sneezing. Yes, ninth.
Watch where you put your bag
It’s surprising that one pinky can sideline a 6’9, 258 pound basketball player. Carlos Boozer suffered a freak accident that broke his pinky on his shooting hand, sidelining him for two months. Boozer says it was dark in his home when his doorbell rang, and when he went to open the door he tripped on his gym bag. He braced himself with his hand, and when he got back up, it was just numb.
The golf cart incident
Accidents happen while driving, but this one is quite bizarre. Hockey defensemen Erik Johnson actually tore his ACL when his foot was caught between the brakes and accelerator of, get this, his golf cart. Even better, it happened while he was stepping out of the cart. Johnson, the former no.1 pick in the NHL draft, was sidelined for the entire season because of the accident, leaving St. Louis Blues disappointed. But his experience would later come in handy a few years later, when he took to social media to comfort Claude Giroux after his accident.
Hold me back coach
Milton Bradley was a hothead, that was a known fact. Back in 2007, when bradley was playing for the San Diego Padres, he was arguing against a call at first base. The Padres’ manager, Bud Black, tried to hold him back, probably trying to ensure his outfielder won’t get tossed from the game for any reason. Instead, Bradley ended up tearing his ACL. He would go on to miss the final week of the regular season and the Padres lost their wild-card lead.
Ken Griffey Jr.’s cup incident
There’s a reason baseball players wear a protective cup under their gear. Who wants a line drive to come right at them and threaten their you know what and potential future children. But somehow, Ken Griffey Jr. found a way to get injured while putting the protective cup on. The centerfielder pinched himself while putting the cup on, and couldn’t play that day. But who’s to blame him, even the thought of doing that hurts.
Sunflower seeds are for eating
If you’ve watched baseball, or have been to a game, you know sunflower seeds are a part of the experience. For the most part, the players eat them, but in Greg Harris’ case, he flicked them at his teammates, like an annoying little brother. In 1987, Harris was actually sidelined for two starts because he injured himself flicking seeds at his teammates during an entire game. The Rangers pitcher actually flicked enough seeds to cause inflammation in his elbow.
When the head meets the diving board
This one is an incredibly scary story. Greg Louganis headed to the 1988 Olympics to defend his gold medal title. But during the preliminary rounds, Louganis hit his head on the springboard, bled into the pool and suffered a concussion. But that may not be the most shocking part of this story. Six months prior to the games, Louganis was diagnosed with HIV, but he had yet to share that news. Thankfully the blood in the pool could not harm anyone, but he lost almost all of his sponsors.
Chris Coghlan’s shaving cream pie
When Wes Helms singled to send home the scoring run in an 11-inning game against the Atlanta Braves, he had no idea it would end up in his teammate, Chris Coghlan, getting injured. But to be fair, he also didn’t ask for a shaving cream pie to the face. Coghlan was so excited about the win, that he decided to share that excitement with Helms, in the form of a shaving cream pie from behind. But when Coghlan jumped up for the kill, he tore his meniscus. From them on the ritual was banned by manager Edwin Rodriguez.
When Gaming goes bad
Even athletes like to relax with some video games when they’re not on the field or court. But Joel Zumaya joined a list of several big time players who injured themselves while taking part in this past time. In 2016, while pitching for the Detroit Tigers,’ Zumaya played so much Guitar Hero that he was sidelined with a sore wrist. The injury caused him to miss several ALCS games. So next time you pick up a guitar, real or game-related, don’t rock out too hard.
Watching baseball can be dangerous, just ask George Brett
George Brett has spent his fair share of time on a baseball field, 21 years to be exact. But his weirdest accident came while he was off the field, watching a game on TV. As the story goes, back in 1983, Brett was in the middle of doing laundry when he heard that then-Cubs first baseman Bill Buckner, his favorite player, was stepping up to the plate. Brett then ran to theTV, hitting a door on his way and breaking a toe. He would end up on the disabled list.
John Smoltz should save the ironing for the board
Someone needs to teach John Smotlz the basics of ironing clothing. For starters, the iron heats up. It gets hot. Like, really hot. In 1990, the former Atlanta Braves pitcher tried to iron a shirt while he was wearing it, burning himself. Smoltz would deny the story, but the media had a field day, and eventually he stopped denying it. Until this day, Smotlz still hasn’t come out and said it actually happened. So is it made up or real? We may never know, but we have our speculations.
Lionel Simmons loves his Gameboy
Here’s another case of too much video gaming. The Sacramento Kings Lionel Simmons was sidelined for two games during his rookie season because he was playing too much Gameboy. Looks like he couldn’t be pulled away from Tetris and Super Mario, causing tendonitis in both his thumbs. But he still came in second in Rookie of the Year voting. Simmons retired from the NBA after only seven seasons because of chronic injuries. Coincidence? Who knows.
Sean Payton’s sideline injury
Football injuries are fairly common during games, when 300 pound plus men knock into each other. It’s much harder to get injured on the sidelines, but Sean Payton did just that. The New Orleans Saints’ head coach was in the wrong place at the wrong time when Jimmy Graham was tackled, and Graham’s helmet hit Payton’s leg, tearing his MCL and breaking his tibia. Ouch! He would continue to coach the rest of the season with a brace, and a few feet back from the sidelines.
Some players have a tendency to taunt each other after big plays, so no one was surprised when Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch imitated Aaron Rodger’s “discount double-check” celebration dance. What was surprising is that he managed to tear his ACL while doing so. Tulloch claims he wasn’t imitating Rodgers’ now famous celebration, but you know what they say about karma…Tulloch had never before missed a game, but had to sit out the remainder of the season, including the playoffs.
Man’s best friend
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but that doesn’t mean they’re always going to cuddle up in your lap. David Cone learned that the hard way. The former pitcher was bit by his mother’s Jack Russell Terrier during the 1998 season. Veronica, the pup, bit Cone on his index finger and he had to sit out a game, giving Orlando Hernandez his first major league start. Hernandez would make 21 starts that year with a 12-4 record.
This was a rookie mistake. Brazilian soccer rookie Maurides Roque was so excited about his first career goal in the 88th minute of the match, that he had to celebrate somehow. He decided that a cartwheel-backflip is the appropriate way. The 19-year-old planted his hands on the ground, took off, and sprained his knee during his celebration. He had to be carried off the field on a stretcher. Admittedly, it was pretty impressive until he was injured.
Beware of Charles Barkley hugs
Whether Charles Barkley is charging at you for the ball or simply to give you a hug, you should probably run away. Back in 1993, Charles Barkley was so excited by a Kevin Johnson game winning shot that he charged at him to give him a congratulatory hug, jumping into his arms. But the 250-pound Barkley banged knees with Johnson, causing him to miss three games, including the playoffs opener. So if you see Barkley coming, happy or angry, beware.
Losing a finger during a soccer match
It’s easy and sometimes fun to joke about fake injuries and flopping in soccer. But this injury is nothing to laugh about. Servette midfielder Paulo Diogo was celebrating a goal when he jumped up on a fence. Diogo’s wedding ring got caught on the fence, and tore off part of his ring finger. To make matters worse: Diogo was handed a yellow card for delaying the game because of his celebration. No sympathy shown here.
Out of all the weird stories about sports injuries, this has to be one of the oddest ones. We have to go all the way back to the 1920s for this story. According to the legend, Boston Red Sox pitcher Clarence Blethen had fake teeth and, while playing or batting, he put them in his back pocket. But one day, Blethen was sliding into second base, and his fake teeth, safely in his back pocket, actually bit him in the backside, causing some bleeding.
Adam Eaton versus the DVD
MLB’s Adam Eaton lost a battle against a DVD. In 2001, the San Diego Padres pitcher found himself in a serious fight with the DVD while trying to open the shrink wrap on the box. Eaton ended up getting a knife to settle the deal, but then he accidentally stabbed himself in the stomach. He needed two stitches after the incident and had to miss a start. Moral of the story: be careful when you use knives to cut open DVD packages.
The snap on live TV
Anything can happen during an arm wrestling match, apparently. Wrestling Champion Ben Ross snapped his arm on live television while arm wrestling Wendell Sailor. The accident happened just seconds after the competition began. The ugly injury aired live and Ross could be heard screaming in pain. But even after the injury, Ross didn’t step away from this match and challenged Sailor to a left handed match. He declined, and who can blame him?
Where did that sprinkler come from?
When the game is over and the players and fans go home, it’s time to water the grass in the stadium, so it makes sense that there are sprinklers in the ground. But in 2015, one such sprinkler made a surprise appearance in spring training. The Blue Jays’ Michael Saunders was fielding fly balls when he stepped on a sprinkler and tore his meniscus. He returned to play after missing less time than expected, but eventually was sidelined for the season.
Alex Stepney can yell louder than you
Have you ever gotten into a screaming match with someone? Yelled so much you lost your voice? How about yelling so loudly you dislocated your jaw? Well Alex Stepney did. In 1975, the Manchester United goalie was yelling so loudly at his defenders during a game against Birmingham that he actually dislocated his jaw. According to reports, his jaw was already aggravated before the incident. Needless to say, his yelling didn’t help his situation. But at least they won the match.
Steve Sparks versus the phone book
Can you rip a phone book in half? During the Milwaukee Brewers 1994 spring training camp, former pitcher Steve Sparks was trying to guarantee a spot on a major-league team for the first time, but he also wanted to prove that he in fact can rip a phonebook in half (after GM Sal Bando brought motivational speakers who, as part of a presentation, ripped a phone book). Instead, Sparks injured himself while trying to accomplish this feat. The pitcher dislocated his non-throwing shoulder for the seventh time. He would go on to dislocate it 15 times before he retired and underwent three surgeries.
The ACL-tearing celebration
There isn’t much love for kickers in American football. They trot onto the field, do their thing, and the celebrations come when a field goal is scored. Arizona’s Bill Gramatica took the time to celebrate his 43-yard field goal, with a simple leap. Little did he know it would cost him. Gramatica tore his ACL while celebrating. He was sidelined for the following kickoff, and now jokes about the incident. Apparently we all got it wrong, he wasn’t injured while jumping in celebration, he was injured during his landing.
Just a nick
It’s normal to cut yourself shaving. It may bleed a bit, but it doesn’t affect your day-to-day life, let alone your playing abilities. But Spanish goalkeeper Santiago Canizares’ shaving accident left him sidelined. Canizares severed a tendon in his foot after he accidentally smashed his aftershave bottle, causing glass to drop and a shard to sever a tendon in his big toe. The accident resulted in Canizares being sidelined during the World Cup.
Jose Theodore can’t handle the ice
It’s normal for a hockey player to slip on ice considering their game is played on ice and they take each other down constantly. So when a headline reading Jose Theodore slips on ice makes news, you have to know it’s a special story. The then-Montreal Canadiens goalie slipped on ice outside of his house, straining his Achilles tendon. You’d think someone who spends so much time on ice would be able to balance on it, even without his skates.
Bringing an ax into a locker room probably isn’t the smartest idea. Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio was looking for a way to motivate the players, and he had an idea: “keep chopping wood,” a phrase he brought to life by bringing an actual ax and stump of wood to the locker room. But when punter Chris Hanson picked up the ax to literally chop wood, he ended up slicing his left foot instead. He was placed on IR, ending his season.
Beware of Moose on track – Svein Grondalen
If you’re driving through the suburbs at night, you most likely know to keep an eye out for any animals who may jump on the road, usually a deer. During the 1970s, Norway defender Svein Grondalen was out for a run when he collided with a moose. Grondalen had to withdraw from an international match because of the incident. Can you imagine colliding with something that size? Is it possible he didn’t actually see it?
Ken Sanders versus the sun
Relief pitcher Ken Sanders was on the mound waiting for his catcher, John Sterns, to throw the ball back to him, but couldn’t see because of a glare. The sun was hitting a piece of class behind the partition at Shea Stadium in Queens, making it hard for him to see the ball, until it hit him in the face that is. Sanders was hospitalized with a broken nose and cheek. Needless to say, he didn’t see that coming.
The fondue fail
Nothing quite like an evening at home with some fondue and friends, right? While playing for Jacksonville, Chris Hanson invited his teammate Jaret Holmes over for dinner. But a freak accident landed them in the emergency room, Hanson and his wife were making fondue but mishandled the pot, leaving all three with burns. Thankfully, they were all three okay, but considering Hanson has made this list twice, it’s safe to say he’s a bit accident prone.
Glenallen Hill’s spider nightmare
A fear of spiders is normal, and yes, they can even creep into your dreams. But as long as they stay there, and you’re still safely in your bed, it’s okay. In this case, Glenallen Hill’s spider nightmare became a real life nightmare, as the outfielder stumbled around his home while sleeping and woke up with cuts all over his arms and feet, after walking into a glass table and stumbling down the stairs. He had to be treated at the hospital and missed a game against the Seattle.