Weirdest Sports Injuries
Professional athletes armed with amazing talent can captivate, entertain and confound. Sadly, that goes double for the manner in which they get injured.
Sneezing seems to be an epidemic.
Now, when you talk about weird sports injuries, the chances are great that you will delve deep into the MLB world. Yes, the Hall of Famers of peculiar injuries will be well represented, but we managed to pepper in other sports as well.
As always, feel free to toss in your own favorite dumbfounding malady in the comments section below. As we get older, our own aches and pains become more of a problem. Consider this a cure-all in the form of injuries so weird they are downright comforting.
Carlos Gonzalez: Dip Spit
Carlos Gonzalez is a slugger capable of some astonishing feats. He's homered 22 times or more in each of the last four seasons, and he collected an OPS of .881 or better in that span as well.
However, he still can't manage to keep from swallowing the bad stuff.
MLB.com's Thomas Harding reports Gonzalez recently left a game in a rather, well, disgusting manner:
Of course, as Gonzalez mentioned after the game and manager Walt Weiss noted Thursday, accidentally swallowing his smokeless tobacco could not have helped.
"I talked to him last night after the game and he assured me he was fine and was going to be all right, so it's a nice name to write in a lineup," Weiss said. "He might've swallowed some dip or something. He landed hard, knocked the wind out of himself, swallowed some dip, dehydration, all those things were factors.
The sudden need to rinse our own mouths out is at an all-time high.
Lionel Simmons: Game Boy
The only annoyance I might chalk up to playing Game Boy as a kid might be the frustration of finding enough batteries in the house and thinking there was actually some value in honing my Tetris skills.
At least I was never physically injured.
The Denver Post's Mike Burrows, in chronicling a great many injuries, had this to say about a former NBA player:
Lionel Simmons was a rookie starring for the Sacramento Kings in February 1991 when he developed tendinitis in his right wrist and forearm. The injury was caused by Simmons playing his Nintendo GameBoy, and he missed two games.
To be fair, Paperboy is one heck of a game.
Mat Latos: Aborted Sneeze
Please don't try to prevent a sneeze, because that act may just sideline you for a fortnight.
Mat Latos, a seemingly capable man, was placed on the 15-day DL in 2010 for, well, we will let The San Diego Union-Tribune's Bill Center tell you:
While walking down some steps at Coors Field in Denver last Friday, Mat Latos stifled a sneeze.
That aborted sneeze led to pain in Latos’ side that landed the 22-year-old pitcher on the 15-day disabled list Thursday.
If a similar malady befalls any of you readers, please don't tell anyone. It's far better to make up an altogether less ridiculous injury, because nobody is going to believe a sneeze set you back.
Sammy Sosa: Sneeze
One of the most famous examples of an apparently debilitating sneeze came in 2004 when Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa sneezed his way onto the DL.
ESPN has this one:
Sosa missed Sunday's game in San Diego after two violent sneezes brought on back spasms. He was examined by Dr. Michael Schaefer, the Cubs' orthopedic specialist, before Tuesday's game against the Giants, and tests revealed the sprained ligament.
"He's going to receive an epidural tonight to calm down some of the inflammation and lower back pain," general manager Jim Hendry said. "It's pretty certain he'll be missing a couple of weeks. So it looks like it's a (disabled list) situation."
We now have the plot to a new MLB horror movie, wherein players fear for the next bout of sneezes that might sideline them. It's like Final Destination but, you know, stupider.
Svein Grondalen: Moose
I'm no expert, but moose seem to be fairly large animals. They are certainly bigger than Legos, life's most egregious mishap in waiting.
However, a moose managed to display ninja-like qualities, enough to injure footballer Svein Grondalen. The New York Times' Jere Longman states, "In the 1970s, a Norwegian defender named Svein Grondalen went for a jog one day and, extremely deep in his thoughts or nearsighted, ran into a moose."
As Reuters' Mark Meadows explains, he "missed a World Cup qualifier" because of the lack of awareness.
Well, that's embarrassing for all involved.
Vince Coleman: Tarp
This is why you can't have nice things, MLB.
As The Hardball Times' Chris Jaffe reminds, the grounds crew working the tarp back on Oct. 13, 1985 pretty much broke a young Vince Coleman.
In the above Fox Sports video, Coleman explains that there wasn't any time to outrun the tarp, because the mechanized roller was far too quiet for either he or Terry Pendleton to hear.
Just when you thought it was safe to stand on the field and shoot the bull for a bit...
Glenn Healy: Bagpipes
Glenn Healy is really good at bagpipes. Well, not really good, because he once suffered an injury just by handling the damn things.
MSN Sports' Ian Harrison writes:
Healy is a bagpiper who has showed off his skills at several events. But when changing the bag on his instrument one off-season, Healy suffered a deep cut to his hand, needing 10 stitches to close the gash. Fortunately for Healy, he recovered before the start of the next season, and didn't miss any time playing his more customary set of pipes.
We are glad he wasn't seriously injured, but a few days without the sounds of bagpipes was perhaps a good thing.
Wade Boggs: Cowboy Boots
You wouldn't think something as innocuous as cowboy boots could be so dangerous. Then again, you can probably live your life without suffering ridiculously silly injuries like baseball players do.
Wade Boggs, a man who was so physically gifted he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, suffered an injury just by putting on his boots.
The Hardball Times' Chris Jaffe has more:
In a hotel in Toronto on June 9, 1986, Boggs tried to use his foot to pry off the cowboy boot from his other foot, only to have things go rather badly. Instead of losing his boot, he lost his balance and fell ribcage-first into the arm of a couch.
Muggsy Bogues: Ointment Fumes
What does one do when the substance used to help an injury actually causes more harm? Well, they sit the rest of the game, of course.
The Atlantic's Ethan Trex has a great many injuries that we previously covered, but also has this of a former NBA player:
Point guard Muggsy Bogues once missed the second half of a game after he became dizzy from inhaling ointment fumes while receiving treatment for a sore muscle at halftime.
That is some very powerful and stinky stuff you have there, Doc.
Marty Cordova: Tanning Bed
I never saw the need for a tanning bed. Then again, living in Los Angeles, you can get that kind of stuff for free if you are into things like walking outside for a spell.
Marty Cordova—a man whose job description mandates he stay outside—decided he needed to super-size his tanning session.
Back in 2003, Sports Illustrated's injury tracker actually had to post this hilarity:
Cordova is day-to-day after burning his face in a tanning bed earlier this week. Under doctor's orders, the Orioles' outfielder has been told to stay out of the sun for a few days. He should return by this weekend.
Most of you not burning yourself in a tanning bed, good job. Congratulations on accomplishing the absolute least to stay healthy.
Bill Gramatica: Hubris
Yes, we are well aware that this particular injury is as played out as stadiums going with Pharrell Williams' "Happy" during a game, but it still remains one of the weirder injuries we ever witnessed.
As you can see in the video, Bill Gramatica launches a ball all of 43 yards in the first quarter of what Fox Sports reminds is an eventual loss.
Still, Gramatica finds enough in his job-done-well-enough to leap as if he just won the Super Bowl. The most peculiar part is that he doesn't get all that high, but he still suffers an injury thanks to, well, gravity.
Kickers remain the worst.
Kevin Mitchell: Donut
Kevin Mitchell fought delicious food as much as MLB pitchers, losing one important battle to a donut that apparently needed to be microwaved.
Here is Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci in 1997:
We wouldn't want to say the guy is injury-prone, but he once strained his rib muscles while vomiting. Another time he showed up late for spring training because he needed emergency dental work after munching on a microwaved chocolate doughnut.
Mitchell doesn't have time to test a donut out of the microwave, sampling its texture before gobbling it up like Cookie Monster at a Girl Scout cookie rally. He doesn't have time for such trivialities.
Practice safe instant cooking, folks.
Brian Anderson: Iron, Taxi
Brian Anderson is a former MLB pitcher who spent 13 seasons in the bigs, pitching for teams such as the Angels, Diamondbacks and Royals.
Unfortunately, poring through his stats won't reveal the best (read: idiotic) moments of his career. For that, we tip our hat to Sports Illustrated's Tim Crothers, who wrote back in 1998 on Anderson's less than admirable injuries:
In late June, Arizona pitcher Brian Anderson burned his face in a most embarrassing fashion: He used the side of his jaw to test the temperature of an iron in his Texas hotel room. Then he missed a start in July because of elbow stiffness caused, he says, by laying his pitching arm across the top of the backseat of a taxi for about 20 minutes during a shopping trip to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Says Anderson, "It's almost like someone has a voodoo doll of me somewhere and is sticking pins in it.
I never thought I would need to relay this to another human being, but I sit here typing with the sudden urge to caution anyone still chugging along to this article: Don't stick an iron to your face.
As for taxis, move your arm if it starts to feel stiff. There, you now have more than enough to get by in life relatively unscathed.
Alan Wright: Ferrari/Genetics
Alan Wright stands at just 5'4", which is apparently too short to drive a Ferrari without harming yourself. Good to know, because I can cease including one in my life's list of dreams.
The Guardian has more on the former footballer:
...Villa's little full-back, needed treatment for a knee strain caused by stretching to reach the accelerator in his new Ferrari. 'It gave me grief,' said Wright, who swapped the car for a Rover 416.
There you have the most adorable injury in the history of mankind.
David Seaman: Remote Control
We might as well end with something useful.
Now, I'm no betting man, but I might be willing to wager that some of you will be watching television at some point soon.
The Los Angeles Times' Shav Glick states, "England's goalkeeper, David Seaman, needed surgery after hurting himself stretching for the remote control while watching an episode of a U.K. soap, Coronation Street."
This concludes our coverage of "athletes do the darndest things." Now, if any of you know of any professional athletes, please send them our regards. We imagine they are in a lot of pain at the moment.