Top 10 WORST Sports Injuries Caught on Camera
Watch enough sports and you’re going to see some crazy things - and luckily for those that may miss a game or two, the cameras are always rolling. While coach meltdowns and player follies are always fun for repeated viewings, it’s these top ten worst sports injuries that were caught on camera that's the topic of discussion for today.
When you mix sharp blades with a fast-paced sport, you get incredibly graphic injuries like the one dealt to former Buffalo Sabre Clint Malarchuk. The Sabres were playing host to the St. Louis Blues when the goaltender was met with the wrong end of Blues player Steve Tuttle’s skate. During play, Tuttle and teammate Uwe Krupp crashed into Malarchuk and Tuttle’s blade struck the goalie's neck. Malarchuk suffered a severed carotid artery and injuries to sheath muscle and his jugular vein while the audience stared on in disbelief as the rink became red with blood. Malarchuk survived the injury thanks to Jim Pizzutelli, the Sabres’ athletic trainer, who pinched off the blood vessel until medical assistance arrived.
As we continue to put to rest the stereotype that footballers are drama queens, we give you Paulo Diogo. The Servette FC player had just assisted in a goal against FC Schaffhausen and felt some much-needed celebration was in order. Diogo jumped onto the fence separating fans from the field and left them a memento. Diogo hadn’t noticed that his wedding ring caught onto the barrier, so when he jumped, the top half of his ring finger tore off. Adding insult to very gross injury, Diogo was yellow carded for wasting time with his celebration. Though his finger was recovered, doctors were unable to re-attach it and amputated the digit to the first joint.
Footballers get a bad rap for faking injuries but Ewald Lienen’s reaction of terror, pain, and adrenaline during an August 8th match against Werder Bremen was as genuine as they come. After gaining possession of the ball, the Arminia Bielefield midfielder was tackled by Norbert Siegmann. As the two collided, Siegmann’s studs sliced open Lienen’s thigh, leaving him with a wound almost 10-inches or 25-centimeters long and 1-inch or 5-centimeters wide. Even on the old grainy video, the severity of the footballer’s injury is clear as his muscle and femur are visible. Despite his injury, Lienen managed to rush to Siegmann’s coach and blame him for telling his player to play aggressively.
We tried to keep things as “off camera” as possible, but you knew that wasn’t going to last. At first viewing, the video of Hill’s grotesque injury looks fake – but it is very real. In a fight against Dale Hartt in 2008, Hill came in with a quick kick from his right leg, but Hartt’s own appendage got in the way. On contact, Hill’s leg turned to rubber, the bone fracturing in an impossibly grisly way. The fighter’s tibia and fibula broke against Hartt’s boney leg, sidelining Hill for thirteen months. Sadly, Hill passed away in 2015 from a collapsed lung and heart attack.
What’s worse than Kevin Ware’s compound fracture is watching the reactions of distressed audience members and devastated teammates. The March 2013 Elite 8 match between Louisville and Duke universities was still in its first half when Louisville guard Kevin Ware attempted to block a three-point attempt. Unexpectedly, when Ware landed, his tibia fractured and punctured the skin of his leg. The game was delayed ten minutes while medical staff assessed Ware’s grotesque injury and moved him to a local hospital for surgery. Less than a year later, Ware took the court again during a November match against Pikeville.
After a bad pass during a Las Vegas team scrimmage landed the ball in the hands of James Harden, Paul George was quick on his heels. As Harden went for a lay-up, George crashed into him from behind in an obvious foul. Of course, the foul was the least of George’s concerns. When he landed, his ankle snapped against the stanchion, breaking two bones in his lower right leg in a compound fracture. The video of the injury is quick and it’s easy to miss, but once you see it, it’s impossible to forget.
As we found with the case of Canadian figure skater Jessica Dube, not all sports require unavoidable physical contact to land on this list. During the February 2007 Four Continents Championships in Colorado Springs, Dube and her partner Bryce Davison were in their third near-flawless rotation when they accidentally drifted too close together. Before either realized how close they were, Davison’s skate struck Dube’s face, slicing her cheek open. Dube dropped to the ice, blood pooling around her before being stretchered out of the rink. She received 83 stitches to her cheek and nose and both skaters underwent treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder before returning to the rink.
There was once a time when basketball was far more physical than it is today and why most of that aggression has been weeded out may have something to with a near fatal injury suffered by Houston Rockets’ forward, Rudy Tomjanovich. During a December 9th, 1977 game against the Los Angeles Lakers, a fight broke out between Kevin Kunnert and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. As Tomjanovich rushed to assist Kunnert, he received a swift and near-fatal blow from Laker, Kermit Washington. The Rocket fell into a pull of blood, his skull dislocated and fluid leaking from his spine. Tomjanovich recovered over a five-month period but retired from playing in 1981.
Injuries in hockey are fairly frequent, but Trent McCleary’s freak incident during the January 29th, 2000 bout between the Montreal Canadians and Philadelphia Flyers was among one of the worst. The former Canadian was unknowingly playing his last game when he attempted to block a slapshot made by Chris Therien. The puck connected with McCleary, hitting and fracturing his larynx. Immediately after, his lung collapsed. To save his life, the medical staff performed an emergency procedure to partially open his airways before he was rushed to the hospital. Despite an attempted return in 2001, McCleary’s injury proved too damaging to allow him to continue to play.
During a New York Giants and Washington Redskins game on November 18th, 1985, then-Redskins’ quarterback Joe Theismann suffered a career-ending injury at the hands of linebacker, Lawrence Taylor. During an attempt at a flea flicker, the Giant’s defense blitzed Theismann, with Taylor leading the charge. Before he could release the ball, the quarterback was brought to the ground, his right leg receiving the brunt of the sack. As players dispersed, Theismann was left sprawled on the ground, his fibula and tibia fractured. Though the fracture is blocked on camera, the reaction of Taylor and players on both teams are telling as to how gruesome the injury was.