The 50 Weirdest Injuries in Sports History

Zack Pumerantz@z_pumerantzAnalyst IIIApril 8, 2012

The 50 Weirdest Injuries in Sports History

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    Ripped rotators. Hampered hamstrings. Torn tibia. We've seen it all.

    But the weird world of sports can sometimes present us with unique oddities, unusual physical breaks in optimism if you will.

    After learning that Rockies southpaw Josh Outman strained his oblique following a vicious hurling session (excuse the pun), now seems like the perfect time to look at the strangest injuries in sports history.

    Each one making history one disability at a time.

    You'll wince, you'll cringe, it'll become a part of you.

50. Nolan Ryan Becomes One with Nature

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    That's one small step for coyote, one giant leap for Nolan Ryan.

    Even an obscure coyote bite couldn't keep the legendary hurler from mowing down his competition.

49. Bill Gramatica Spoke Too Soon

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    This stellar, humorous and certainly colorful celebration speaks for itself.

    Forty-three-yard field goal in the first quarter. Yeah, Bill Gramatica (not Martin) seemed a bit too excited.

48. Roger Craig Mixes Business and Pleasure

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    When asked about the obvious bandages on his hand in the early '90s, Roger Craig came clean, and we respect him for that.

    He certainly did cut his hand on a bra strap wire, and played through the manly injury like a warrior.

    Just remember, practice makes perfect.

47. Plaxico Burress Becomes a Legend

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    While Cheddar Bob..err Plaxico Burress' infamous shot to his own leg has certainly become a league-wide comedy skit by now, it's his alibi that had us truly smiling.

    Applebee's couldn't possibly be pleased.

46. Santiago Canizares Gets Pampered

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    When Spanish goalkeeper Santiago Canizares looks back on his unique career, one hygienic injury is sure to stand out.

    After accidentally breaking a bottle of cologne on his sink and having the shards of glass cut into the tendon in his big toe in '02, Canizares was ruled out for the World Cup.

    But he smelled fantastic.

45. Adam Eaton Loses TV Privileges

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    There's nothing more frustrating than the impossible-to-open DVD cases featuring endless layers of plastic wrap.

    Former pitcher Adam Eaton learned that the hard way when he decided to use a paring knife to open his new films.

    Naturally, the mini machete slipped and stabbed its victim in the stomach. Classic.

44. Chris Hanson Isn't Paul Bunyan

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    Leave it to a punter to break the mold of odd sports injuries.

    Former Jags head coach Jack Del Rio should have realized his placing of a stump of wood and an axe to symbolize "keep choppin' wood" was going to literally gash his punter's thankfully-non-punting foot.

    When keeping it real goes wrong.

43. Hunter Pence Derails Opponents

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    Like a bewildered bird continuously thrusting itself into a clear glass window, outfielder Hunter Pence didn't even see it coming back in 2008.

    After he and a friend went for a dip in the hot tub, Pence allegedly ran back inside to use the bathroom, but not before smashing completely through the sliding door that he didn't realize was closed.

    Quite the phenomenal finish.

42. Marty Cordova Fist-Pumps

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    Hopefully, this former outfielder had already finished his gym workout and laundry loads before falling asleep on a tanning bed and burning his face in '02.

    The 1995 Rookie of the Year, Marty Cordova seems to be perfecting his tanning position in this memorable shot.

41. Kim Clijsters Dances with the Stars

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    Some legendary athletes just aren't as prolific on the dance floor as they are on the playing field, and Kim Clijsters is perhaps the first to attest to that.

    The skilled tennis player had to cut her stay at the 2011 French Open a little short after injuring her ankle at her nephew's wedding.

    Blame it on the 80 proof.

40. Milton Bradley Gets Grounded

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    Karma continues to surprise us.

    Oft-injured, oft-chatty, oft-disrespectful outfielder Milton Bradley tore his ACL after arguing a call in 2007.

    Stick to board games, big guy.

39. Brian Griese Fumbles in the Clutch

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    Despite being the son of a Hall of Fame quarterback, Brian Griese is remembered a bit more for his partying than his slinging.

    During festivities at the surely-magnificent Terrell Davis residence, Griese found himself tumbling down the driveway before knocking himself unconscious.

    Seven stitches later, and he was ready to go for Round 2.

38. A.J. Burnett Hones His Craft

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    There's a reason pitchers are often seen as expected outs at the plate.

    A.J. Burnett became yet another example of a baffled, uneducated hitter when he bunted a ball off his face during this bunting session.

    While certainly hilarious, it led to a broken orbital bone and will force him to miss two to three months.

    It's unlikely Pittsburgh forgets by the time he returns.

37. Jeff Kent Tries out for the X-Games

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    Spring training of '02 featured a hampered star second baseman for the Giants, who claimed he'd broken his left wrist washing his truck.

    Rumor has it that Jeff Kent was attempting tricks on his motorcycle instead.

    We'd prefer lawnmower.

36. Pervis Ellison Starts Lifting

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    From "Never Nervous" to "Out of Service Pervis," Pervis Ellison never quite found the promise he displayed at Louisville on the NBA hardwood, or perhaps never got the chance.

    The oft-injured former No. 1 pick dealt with a bevy of injuries, but none more baffling than the broken toe he received after attempting to pick up a table.

    For a nice game of pong, we'd expect.

35. Chris Coghlan Loves Baked Goods

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    Following a bases-loaded single by teammate Wes Helms in the 11th inning of a 5-4 win over Atlanta in 2010, reigning Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan was ready to deliver one memorable pie to one vulnerable face.

    A torn meniscus was icing on the cake.

34. Jason Arnott Becomes a Statistic

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    If we've learned anything from the strange world of sports, it's that celebrations are risky business and should be approached with full caution.

    Jason Arnott couldn't possibly have expected teammate Alexander Radulov to completely derail him into the boards following this memorable score.

    Expect the unexpected.

33. Brian Anderson Makes History

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    The perfect compliment to a lacking 82-win career on the mound is a memorable (albeit baffling) injury story, and former pitcher Brian Anderson has more than one to keep his name relevant.

    He once missed a start because of elbow stiffness that he claims resulted from laying his pitching arm over the backseat of a taxi for too long.

    But perhaps the most historic tale that Anderson has to share involved an iron in a Texas hotel room, which he placed on his jaw to test its hotness (and yes, it was hot).

    He should've fried some eggs while he was at it.

32. Sammy Sosa Needs More Than a Tissue

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    One ferocious sneeze back in 2004 forced controversial slugger Sammy Sosa to miss several games with a strained back and tainted ego.

    Those juices, they'll get ya.

31. David Seaman Tries to Change the Channel

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    We as the male population can certainly understand the strain English former goalie David Seaman felt during his off days...while watching what we believe to be his beloved soap operas.

    Apparently, his back wasn't quite ready for the immense stretch needed to reach the remote.

    And women wonder why we always keep the controller close by.

30. Lionel Simmons' Search for Peach

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    During his memorable entrance into the NBA, before becoming the runner-up to Derrick Coleman for the 1991 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, Lionel Simmons showed fans why rookies can't be trusted.

    Too much Nintendo Gameboy gave Simmons tendinitis in his right wrist, forcing him to miss several games.

    Super Mario Land is insanely addictive; we totally get it.

29. Chuck Finley Searches for Some Relief

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    Spousal abuse is no laughing matter, and former pitcher Chuck Finley learned that the difficult way when he was physically attacked by his obviously-insane wife, Whitesnake model girl Tawny Kitaen.

    He missed his next start with several scars and a tarnished confidence.

28. Kevin Johnson Is Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

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    Charles Barkley gives us dislocated enjoyment every time he decides to comment, but it was a memorable celebration during his time with the Suns that gets him once again in the spotlight.

    After teammate Kevin Johnson hit a game-winning shot, Barkley gave him an intense, shoulder-dislocating hug that was sure to make history.

    Let's keep it to high-fives and butt-taps from now on.

27. Glenn Healy Enters the Haggis

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    Not for a slight moment did we doubt former goalie Glenn Healy's bagpiping prowess, yet never did we think he'd actually cement his name in NHL history with it.

    Cutting his hand open from changing the pipes certainly got the job done, 40 stitches later.

26. Orlando Brown Gets a Flag

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    Referee Jeff Triplette certainly deserved a solid shove after hitting former offensive tackle Orlando Brown (R.I.P.) in the eye with a penalty flag.

    He must have missed the accuracy drills during that year's umpire training camp.

25. Clarence Blethen Sees the Dentist

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    Former Red Sox pitcher Clarence Blethen only reached base once in his career, but it was perhaps the most memorable base-running experience in history.

    Blethen was known for his false teeth, which he would put in his back pocket when he had to run the bases. 

    But in 1923, he slid into second base and felt quite the bite in his rump. Those teeth forced him out of the game with excessive bleeding.

    A stellar slide in the end.

24. Boban Jankovic Loses His Cool

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    In a tragic twist of fate, Serbian former power forward Boban Jankovic (R.I.P.) let his emotions get the best of him.

    After fouling out with eight minutes left, Jankovic slammed his head into the basket's pole in frustration and anger.

    Permanent paralysis would result, leaving the sports world shocked and saddened.

23. Wade Boggs Enjoys Western Films

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    Known for his prolific hitting skills, stellar 'stache and world-class brewski-drinking ability, Wade Boggs was quite the unique athlete.

    But it was his attempt to put on cowboy boots that eventually gave Boggs a strained back, and forced him to miss several games in 1986.

    Clint Eastwood is shaking his head.

22. Joba Chamberlain Jumps Around

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    While working his way back from elbow ligament replacement surgery, seemingly unlucky hurler Joba Chamberlain found himself in yet another predicament.

    But we can't possible fault the 240-pound fireballer for dislocating his ankle on a trampoline, considering he was just enjoying a relaxation day with his son.

    Perhaps bench coach would be a better fit.

21. Bobby Cruickshank Studies Science

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    With eight holes to play in the 1934 U.S. Open and the lead, former legend Bobby Cruickshank hit a shot on the 11th into a body of water, where the ball hit a rock and bounced onto the green.

    In excitement (or bewilderment), Cruickshank tossed his club in the air to celebrate...not realizing it would come back down.

    After getting plunked in the noggin, Cruickshank would return to finish, but tally some bogeys along the way and finish in a tie for third.

    Apparently gravity does indeed exist.

20. Denny McLain Has Fiery Dreams

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    While he is the last major league pitcher to win 30 or more games during a season (31-6 in 1968), Denny McLain is perhaps most remembered for being the last baller to wake up from a healthy night of sleep with severe injuries.

    Waking up with four dislocated toes? Those were some tough water coolers.

19. Moises Alou Can't Catch a Break

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    Falling off a treacherous treadmill and tearing his ACL is one thing, but it's Moises Alou's encore that has us baffled.

    While rehabilitating the previous injury, Alou ran over his son while riding a bicycle. 

    Thankfully his son was unharmed. Alou, however, destroyed his knee further and would eventually miss the entire '99 campaign.

18. Jimmie Johnson Avoids Driving

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    With four Driver of the Year awards, we'd expect Jimmie Johnson to understand the art of driving inside the vehicle.

    The NASCAR champ was taking part in a celebrity golf tournament when he decided to approach the cart's roof.

    While he naturally fell off and broke his wrist, we're curious as to how the flimsy cover could even hold him to begin with.

17. Tony Allen Doesn't Care About Whistles

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    Hey Tony, if you're going to tear your ACL, at least slam the rock down with gusto.

    Only a crowd of almost 20,000 can possibly make this more embarrassing.

16. Glenallen Hill Gets Caught Webbing

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    It was July of 1990, and former Blue Jays outfielder Glenallen Hill arrived at the field with crutches, carpet burns and a thrashed psyche.

    His phobia of spiders was well known, but it cost him several bandages when he had a nightmare featuring his worst fear.

    Bouncing from wall to carpet and bed to floor, Hill experienced quite the web-like battle, and lived to tell the story.

15. Joel Zumaya

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    For parents looking to quell their child's Guitar Hero addiction, here's a solid threat.

    Oh you can bet former Tigers fireballer Joel Zumaya missed the 2006 ALCS due to a sore wrist after too much thrashing on those buttons.

    He better have been playing on expert.

14. Kevin Mitchell Gets Hungry

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    Former NL MVP Kevin Mitchell had quite the unique relationship with food throughout his career...and we're not referring to the time he strained a muscle while vomiting.

    Oh yes, good old "World" broke his tooth after taking a bite out of a frozen doughnut that he had microwaved too long.

    If only it was a Krispy Kreme.

13. Alex Stepney Says It Loud

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    Most fans remember him as Manchester United's goalie when they became the first English club to win the European Cup, but we like to reminisce a bit more about Alex Stepney's vocal nature.

    While yelling instructions to his teammates, for motivation or direction, Stepney dislocated his jaw.

    It takes that kind of vigor to eclipse the loud surroundings.

12. Brandon Inge Gets Fluffy

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    Pillow fluffing is a dangerous craft, one that takes precision and care.

    Tigers infielder Brandon Inge found himself on the disabled List with a strained oblique after prepping the fierce creature for his three-year-old.

    Let's just say he lost this pillow fight...badly.

11. Alan Wright Forgets His Booster Seat

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    Despite playing 750 league and cup games for eight clubs, 5'4" English defender Alan Wright still requires a phone book under his bum before taking any routine drive (we'd like to believe).

    But after purchasing a glorious new Ferrari, nothing could keep Wright from eagerly reaching for the accelerator, and straining his right knee in the process.

    He naturally exchanged it for a Rover 416.

10. Ken Griffey Jr. Becomes a Soprano

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    Amid a legendary, yet injury-filled career was one humorous memory that gives us all a painful feeling.

    At first it seemed like an innocent abdominal injury for the talented slugger.

    But perhaps we'll let Junior detail the rest..."The best way I can describe it is it felt like somebody bungee jumped off my right nut."

    What doesn't kill you...

9. Clint Barmes Used to Enjoy Venison

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    Deer meat is seen as somewhat of a delicacy, but for Clint Barmes it became a bad luck charm.

    After receiving the juicy delight from teammate Todd Helton in '05, he took a tumble down the stairs and broke his collarbone with the package in hand.

    We'd like to believe the fall tenderized the meat a bit more.

8. Paulo Diogo Gets Fenced In

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    You may recognize this jaw-dropping display as one of the most painful shots in sports, but there is quite the story behind Paulo Diogo's intense boo boo.

    After assisting on a Servette FC goal in the 87th minute of a 2004 game, the Swiss footballer climbed the metal perimeter fence to embrace the fans. 

    His ring caught on the chains and ripped his finger off, essentially ruining the celebration.

    And you can bet he received a yellow card for excessive time-wasting on top of it.


7. Tom Glavine Must Love Barbeque

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    While throwing up a disagreeable in-flight meal in 1992, star lefty Tom Glavine broke a rib.

    To learn he had in fact eaten ribs would make this tale that much juicier...if only.

6. Darren Barnard Is a Dog Lover

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    Getting a new puppy can bring instant happiness to any well as immediate stress.

    Welsh Former footballer Darren Barnard must've been too excited with his new canine to prepare himself for the sporadic pee naturally present on his once-clean floors.

    Not only did he slip, but the resulting knee ligament damage caused him to miss five months.

    But all we can say is awwww.

5. Bret Barberie Gets Cheesy

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    Sure Bret Barberie recorded the first hit in Marlins franchise history, but that's not what has his name cemented in the sports world.

    After fixing himself a plate of dripping nachos, with the works of salsa, jalapenos and hopefully guacamole, the former infielder forgot to wash his hands...tisk, tisk.

    He then proceeded to put his contact lenses in. The burning sensation that followed forced him to miss the next game.

    All nacho lovers beware.

4. Turk Edwards Sets a Standard

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    An iron man in his day, Hall of Fame tackle Turk Edwards was revered for his strength, agility and bruising's only natural that his career would end before kickoff one routine day in 1940.

    After the coin toss against the Giants, Edwards made a turn to head back toward the sidelines and got caught in the grass, evidently tearing his oft-injured knee for good.

    A legendary playing career was over.

3. Lionel Letizi Has the Perfect Word

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    They may be flexible enough to protect a 24-foot wide soccer net, but goalies don't seem to have the same gusto away from the field.

    During an obviously intense game of Scrabble, French former goalie Lionel Letizi pulled his back muscle reaching for a piece that had fallen off the table.

    We know those Qs and Zs are priceless, but come on man.

2. Jose Cardenal Masters the Art

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    The prime example of bordering on lame, former outfielder Jose Cardenal shocked the world when he missed a game in 1972 because he was kept awake all night by chirping crickets occupying his hotel room.

    But he wasn't finished there, as he would miss Opening Day of 1974 because his eyelids were apparently stuck together.

    Certainly creative.

1. Gus Frerotte Becomes a Headbanger

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    While we love ferocious celebrations, we were a bit baffled when Gus Frerotte slammed his own head into the wall as a victory dance.

    Such a promising career down the drains (yeah, right).