Strangest Mascot Injuries
The entire sports mascot industry is predicated on the idea that buffoonery is not just acceptable when sheathed in 70 pounds of faux fur, vulcanized rubber or some other godforsaken, heatstroke-inducing material, but encouraged and expected.
So between grown men and women attempting to catapult off a trampoline while decked out like a giant stuffed animal and the inherent hazards of navigating an arena's nacho-slicked steps, it's kind of surprising that we don't hear about weirdo mascot injuries more often.
I mean, those who sweat for hours just to entertain the masses for a few precious minutes during an intermission or television timeout, certainly wouldn't make "being a mascot" their craft if they sucked at it.
But, if you watch a few seconds of footage of Toronto's half-balloon, half-costume Raptor tumble helplessly down a flight of stairs, you can't help but wonder if the major sports leagues are secretly churning through mascots as one goes down after another.
Either way, the end result rules—and when an injured mascot does make headlines, the story is often strange even by the Xavier Blue Blob's standards.
Stanley C. Panther
December 2010: The Florida Panthers mascot Stanley C. Panther found himself on the injured reserve list after suffering an "undisclosed injury" while attempting to jump over a folding chair.
He attempted to jump over a folding chair on ice skates. Stanley was apparently injured seriously enough that a wheelchair was involved in his recovery.
October 1995: University of Maine mascot Bananas the Bear must have got a little obnoxious while spreading school spirit because a basketball player punched him in the head and stomach.
What's interesting is that the basketball player…played for…Maine. Bananas must have been driving him bananas! Hiyo!
April 1995: Rocky, the Nuggets mascot, and Sir Charles Barkley have a history of bad blood. Barkley once stepped all over him during a game, perhaps the initial spark in their feud.
In another incident, Rocky challenged Sir Charles to a boxing match, only to be laid out in a single punch to his grill.
February 2001: The Rays mascot, Raymond the "6'5" bundle of blue fur," was injured during a cameo appearance for the Tampa Bay ThunderDawgs of the ABA.
Raymond broke his wrist while attempting a dunk. Another broken bone courtesy of the trampoline, also known as a bouncy lawsuit machine.
October 2013: The Raptors suffered a devastating blow this past preseason when the biggest attraction in Toronto basketball was sidelined for the season with an injury.
Their beloved Raptor, a 19-year veteran, ruptured his Achilles tendon performing a stunt during the home opener. Hopefully he's a superhuman healer like Mr. Kobe Bryant.
Muddy the Mud Hen
August 1995: Muddy the Mud Hen was injured in Toledo during an exhibition game against the big league Tigers.
Muddy was doing his thing, dancing atop the home dugout, when he totally bites it and falls seven feet, smacking his dome on the dugout steps.
Suffering both a concussion and a sprained arm, the poor chicken was hospitalized for four days.
November 2013: Rocky gave the Nuggets crowd a scare at the Pepsi Center when he remained motionless after being lowered from the rafters during the opener against the Trail Blazers.
It was particularly distressing to see Rocky's dismount, as he immediately collapsed to the ground. He wasn't seriously injured, but did pass out during the pregame ceremony. He did not return to the game.
Uh…yeah. That whole thing sounds horrifying.
October 1995: The Mariner Moose got a little carried away while entertaining the Seattle crowd during a playoff series.
The Moose suffered a compound ankle fracture when his rollerblades snagged the turf at the Kingdome, sending him careening into an outfield wall.
October 1995: A week after Mariner Moose's rollerblading accident, the Indians' Slider had a very unfortunate mishap of his own.
Slider fell off the right-field wall at Jacobs Field, tearing his anterior cruciate and medial collateral knee ligaments in the process.
Marty the Marmot
November 2013: The WHL's Victoria Royals mascot Marty the Marmot was injured during a particularly dangerous game of musical chairs. Put almost anything on ice and it'll up the danger factor.
Having a little fun during the game, Marty slid one of the inflatable chairs out from one of the contestants. The fan didn't take it well, responding by body slamming poor Marty onto the ice.
He was (understandably) showered with boos as he left the rink.
April 2012: A play fight between Cavaliers mascot Moondog and David West of the Indiana Pacers ended up being a bit more serious than intended.
During pregame warm-ups Moondog jumped towards West, who played along. The next thing he knew, Moondog was on the ground in obvious distress.
Later he "was spotted running through the hall, his dog head removed, clutching a towel to his eye." That actually sounds like a pretty disturbing scene.
Sebastian the Ibis
September 1989: That crazy Hurricanes mascot, Sebastian the Ibis, was involved in a very bizarre incident prior to a game against Florida State.
Sebastian took the field with the team and a fire extinguisher, hoping to extinguish the 'Noles flaming spear. Unfortunately, he never got that chance.
Before he could make his move, Sebastian was chased down and surrounded by five police officers. The po-po slammed him against the wall and emptied his weapon.
Sebastian may not have been technically injured in the incident, but he certainly could've been.
Sly the Silver Fox
April 2001: The Nets, then of New Jersey, lost their mascot Sly the Silver Fox for the season when he suffered a pretty serious knee injury on the job.
So what was he doing? The limbo, of course!
November 2013: Dan Meers, the man who had played Chiefs' mascot KC Wolf for over 20 years, was seriously injured while rehearsing a zip line stunt in the days leading up to a home game against the Chargers.
The immediate concern seemed to focus on an outside company that secured the riggings. The fact that KC Wolf was speaking through his attorney after the incident should give you a sense of where that's all heading.
April 1994: During a Final Four game, Arizona's Wilbur Wildcat created some March Madness of his own, playing around with the Arkansas Razorbacks.
The Razorbacks tackled an unsuspecting Wilbur from behind, blowing out his knee in the process. Wilbur required surgery for his torn ACL.
April 2010: Wooly Bully, the High Desert Mavericks mascot, was running the bases when he came chest-to-chest with the bulging belly of a very portly young man.
Wooly Bully slams into the guy and, ironically, bounces off him like a brick wall and lands flat on his back. The team obviously played up his severe injury for YouTube hits.
So good job on them because it obviously worked on me.
Sabre (Not Pictured)
April 1996: Sabre, the mascot for the now-defunct Fort Wayne Fury, was seriously injured in a scary 50-foot fall onto concrete prior to a game. He was hospitalized with a broken back, but eventually did recover.
That's the horrible part of the injury, obviously. The strange part is that Sabre's fall from the rafters was actually broken…by another Fury mascot! The mascot who broke the fall was, thankfully, not injured.
That could've actually been a lot worse.
*Sabre is not pictured due to my inability to find a photo of him. Pictured instead is the Fort Wayne Mad Ant, an NBA D-League mascot.
The Oriole Bird
May 1999: One of the Orioles' three mascots, John Krownapple, was injured after being pushed off an outfield wall during a game against the White Sox. He fell 15 feet and broke his left ankle.
Philadelphian Louis Vitagliano was arrested and charged with second degree assault and reckless endangerment for pushing Krownapple. He was forced to heal at home in a wheelchair.
November 1988: The Maryland Terrapins mascot, which is apparently named Testudo, had an encounter with the Virginia Cavalier during a game and it didn't end well for him.
That mean old Cavalier knocked poor little Testudo to the ground, breaking his arm in three places in the process. That must have been one helluva a fall.
Maryland was not super enthused about having to pay the bill for the mascot's injury, but was later forced to spend $5,000 for his medical bills.
September 2011: Iowa State's mascot, Cy, was seriously injured during a football game against Connecticut while in the student section at Connecticut's Rentschler Field. There was some initial concern that poor Cy had met with "fowl" play.
There were some witnesses at the scene that said he may have been pushed on a fall which resulted in a broken arm. Officials from both athletic departments "worked together to make sure the student received proper medical treatment."
The police investigated the incident and determined that no physical altercation was tied to the event. In other words, "Meh…"
October 1995: Ducks mascot Wild Wing was injured while trying to leap over a wall of flames during a particularly adventurous pregame show.
Unfortunately, Wild Wing didn't quite make it over the wall of fire. Instead, he went through the inferno, setting himself aflame in the process.
October 1995: Oregon State's Benny Beaver had an unfortunate run-in with Cal offensive tackle Tarik Glenn, who was on his way to the locker room at the time. An agitated Glenn slugged poor Benny.
Later in the same season he had another altercation, but he (actually, it was a she) may have had this one coming. After knocking Arizona's Frank Middleton in the dome with an inflatable hammer, Middleton turned around and punched Benny in the head.
December 2013: Mississippi State mascot Bully was seriously injured during the Egg Bowl against rival Ole Miss. In the fourth quarter of the game he was "clipped" by an ESPN golf cart, careening down the sideline.
Inside the Bully costume was student Michaela Mills, who was carted off the field on a stretcher. She later underwent surgery to repair a compound fracture in her leg. At least the Bulldogs won the game, so her sacrifice wasn't in vain.
September 1997: Prior to a preseason NHL game, Hurricanes mascot Stormy was doing his mascot prep, awaiting his big entrance out of the Zamboni.
The only problem? Dude never came out! Apparently Stormy had a serious panic attack in the Zamboni and had to be taken to a hospital for treatment.
Doesn't sound like he was cut out to be a mascot.
Jack the Bulldog
March 2012: Georgetown mascot Jack the Bulldog was wiped out of March Madness before the rest of the team, although his injury was sustained off the court.
According to a tweet by Jack's trusted keeper, a Jesuit priest, he was (likely) injured while (attempting) to jump off the couch. Apparently he tore the doggie version of an ACL.
Sounds like someone could use a little conditioning.