6 Famous Athletes with the Worst Sports Injuries

An athlete’s greatest tools are their minds, bodies, and spirits. In performing their best in order to claim victory, however, they tend to put a great deal at stake. One wrong move can absolutely demolish an entire career, as well as a lifetime of dedication. Unfortunately, there have been many famous athletes who couldn’t recover from the worst sports injuries and were forced to retire at the lowest point in their careers.

While it is possible for an athlete to bounce back from a disability or an injury, there are some infamous cases that were memorable for the soul crushing outcomes that came from the incident. This list contains six famous athletes who suffered from the worst sports injuries.

1. Joe Theismann (1985)

Some of the worst sports injuries are so infamous that they become immortalized. In Joe Theismann’s experience, this famous athlete’s injury became the basis for a well-respected award. However, the initial injury was, in a word, pretty horrific.

When the quaterback was sacked by a linebacker for the New York Giants, his right leg snapped between the knee and ankle. The injury was immediately apparent and has become something of a historic moment in American football in the following decades.

Unfortunately, Theismann was never able to play another game after one of the worst sports injuries of all time.


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2. David Busst (1996)

There are few sports injuries worse than a sliced jugular, but there are still plenty of injuries that can cause you to recoil at the very thought of them. Coventry City footballer David Busst suffered one of the worst sports injuries like this in 1996.

Busst was subject to a double-compound fracture, as well as such an impact that caused his cracked fibula bone to pierce clean through his skin. Luckily, television crews refrained from showing the injury on air, but there was at least one player who witnessed the incident that needed counseling for a number of weeks afterwards. Unfortunately, this was the end of Busst’s professional career.


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3. Clint Malarchuk (1989)

On March 22, 1989, the Buffalo Sabres clashed with the St. Louis Blues on the ice during a hockey game. Fans watched the two teams struggle against each other, as the players did their best to bring home a victory that day. However, the match was suddenly derailed by one of the most shocking injuries the NHL has seen yet.

In an insanely unfortunate turn of events, a skate blade caught Clint Malarchuk in the neck, slicing his jugular. The injury resulted in a grisly scene of blood gushing out onto the ice, shocking all in attendance.

While the injury was very serious, Malarchuk was fortunate enough to just miss death by inches and was back on the ice a mere 11 days later.


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4. Rory McIlroy (2015)

Winning a title is a major victory for an athlete. Maintaining the grasp on that title is even more of a challenge, however. In 2014, Rory McIlroy won The Open Championship with grace, and was an easy contender to hold the title in following year.

McIlroy was on top at the time, known as one of the famous athletes to beat in upcoming tournaments. Unfortunately, the golfer ruptured an ankle ligament while playing a friendly game of football. The injury forced him to miss the Open, and then contributed to a 17th place finish in the PGA championship. After suffering from one of the worst sports injuries in his career, McIlroy had undergone rounds of physiotherapy treatments, but had not been able to bounce back to his prime condition.


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5. Petr Cech, 2006

Sometimes, the worst sports injuries can happen as quickly as a match begins. This was the case in October of 2006 when Chelsea’s Premier League met Reading on the field. 16 seconds into the match, Petr Cech slid to collect a ball from a striker. While the move could have saved a goal, it almost ended in immediate tragedy.

The striker’s boot slammed against Cech’s head, resulting in what could have been a fatal injury. The goalkeeper’s skull suffered a depression fracture, leading to the 24-year-old needing two loose pieces of skull to be replaced with metal plates. Fortunately, Cech survived the worst sports injuries of his career and still plays today.


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6. Anderson Silva, 2013

It is only natural for a sport like MMA to have a fair share of injuries associated with it. While the fighters are professionals, they are still human and mistakes do happen. This was the case in 2013 when Anderson Silva’s leg snapped during a middleweight title bout.

Silva was attempting to deliver a blow to opponent Chris Weidman when he fractured his fibula and tibia on Weidman’s leg. The sports injury was devastating and required quite a bit of work to heal, but Silva did return to the ring in time.


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