Author: Ashley Munson
As a rule, people who don’t follow sport – and a lot that do – are miffed and disgusted at the vast sums of money the stars make for ‘doing their hobby’; you’ll regularly hear defences such as ‘it’s a short career’ or ‘they give up a lot because of their dedication’.
However, if anything can put to bed the argument of how much they get paid it’s one that shows how they put their bodies on the line every time they step out to perform. Here are five of the worst injuries sustained during sport:
5 – EVANDER HOLYFIELD
Okay, when you become a boxer you sign up for a little more injury than most sports but spare a thought for Holyfield. He won a bronze medal at the Olympic Games, was undisputed champion at cruiserweight and also at heavyweight as well as being heavyweight champ on four occasions yet most remember him for one moment.
In 1996, Holyfield shocked boxing fans when defeating Mike Tyson for the WBA title; the next year saw a rematch that, once again, Holyfield won. This time Tyson was disqualified for biting a chunk of Holyfield’s ear off, which he duly spat on the canvas. D-ear, oh, D-ear.
4 – JOE THEISMANN
Theismann started his professional career in the Canadian Football League before joining the Washington Redskins in 1974, become one of the top NFL future wagers. Theismann went on to become quarterback and was instrumental in their Super Bowl XVII victory and was named NFL Man of the Year in the same season.
Unfortunately, in late 1985 Theismann suffered what would prove to be a career ending injury. It was during a game against the New York Giants when the Giants read a Redskins play and blitzed Theismann; Gary Reasons and Harry Carson were involved in the incident but it was the sack from Lawrence Taylor that caused the devastating injury – a double leg break –-that left Theismann with one leg shorter than the other; he never played again.
3 – BERT TRAUTMANN
Soccer players have a reputation of being soft but that’s not the case for all of them and certainly not for Trautmann, a Prisoner of War survivor and former Man City goalkeeper. During the 1956 FA Cup final – a much bigger game than it is nowadays – Trautmann’s team were leading 3-1 with seventy-odd minutes on the clock when Birmingham forward Peter Murphy had sight of goal but was denied by Trautmann flying at his feet.
Trautmann finished the match, which his team won, collected his medal – around a clearly injured neck – and then three days later it was revealed he’d broken his neck in the incident. Next time you see a soccer player rolling around feigning injury, just remember, it’s not all of them.
2 – AKIL MITCHELL
After going undrafted in the 2014 draft, Mitchell flirted with the NBA a little but ultimately ended up journeying to and from different sides outside of the top level but an injury like his won’t go under the radar.
In January 2017, whilst representing the New Zealand Breakers, a contested rebound with Nnanna Egwu of the Cairns Taipans saw the 6ft 8, 135lb Mitchell hit the deck for a hand in the face. It seemed innocuous but the angle of impact caused Mitchell’s eye to leave its socket. He temporarily lost his sight in the eye but returned to the court two months later and still plays today.
1 – CLINT MALARCHUK
During the 1989 NHL campaign Malarchuk was keeping goal for the Buffalo Sabres when teammate Uwe Krupp and St Louis Blues wing Steve Tuttle collided; they escaped injury free but Tuttle’s blade unintentionally caught Malarchuk across the neck.
Malarchuk was losing blood at an incredible rate and survived by the smallest of margins having lost a third of his blood but, thankfully, rapid medical attention, 300 stitches and a slice of luck meant Malarchuk would survive a severed jugular; not only that, he played again just 11 days later.
There you have it, five horrendous injuries and five sparkling examples of why our sportsmen (and women) are paid so highly.