After missing 32 games, having over twenty surgeries and over two years in rehab, on October 11th Alex Smith returned to an NFL field. He returned after suffering a gruesome and potentially career threatening injury in 2018. It was one of the worst injuries to ever occur on an NFL field. It was terrifying to see the replay and after you saw it you didn’t want to see it again, but the key word there is terrifying. Given the season, we’re going to go through a list of the scariest injuries in sports history.
On this same day, Dak Prescott suffered one of the most gruesome football injuries I’ve seen in a while. Prescott suffered a Compound Fracture of Leg, broken ankle and torn ankle ligaments. He isn’t currently expected to be ready to play by the start of next season. The history of this injury says it will be around a year and a half.
One of the few things guaranteed in sports is injuries. Almost every athlete from has to deal with getting hurt at some point. Some injuries only knock out a player for a few days, or weeks. Others keep them out for years or maybe even for good. And in rare cases, injuries become famous. This fame can be because of the athletes involved in the injury, what caused the pain or the gruesome nature of the damage done.
The injury that has to be mentioned first in is the Kevin Ware injury. Ware suffered an open fracture of his right leg after trying to block a shot and landing awkwardly. The bone of Ware’s leg broke through the skin. I was watching that game live. It was an Elite 8 game against Duke. The camera caught the entire thing, including the part where his bone was sticking through his leg. It was horrifying.
Ware ended up finishing his career at Georgia State only eight months after his injury. He was a back-up guard on that team.
We’ll stick with basketball for our next injury: Gordon Hayward – Compound Fracture of Leg, broken ankle and torn ankle ligaments. Hayward’s injury was similar to the Prescott injury. This injury was one of the scariest and most shocking injuries I can remember. The injury details speak for themselves, but the shock factor was there too. It was a scary injury to see because his foot was turned completely sideways and the camera caught it all, but also it was his first game as a Boston Celtic and it happened on a nationally televised game.
It took Hayward about a year and half to return to action and his production has never returned to what is was pre-injury. We’ll see if he can return to that all-star player he was in Utah again one day, but that traumatic of an injury set his career back drastically.
Those basketball injuries were terrifying, but this next one is at a different level because of the part of the body it occurred on. Let’s go to hockey.
The Buffalo Sabres were playing the St. Louis Blues on March 22, 1989 when Sabres goaltender Clint Malarchuk suffered one of the scariest injuries the NHL has ever see. A skate blade caught Malarchuk in the neck, cutting his jugular vein and sending blood pouring onto the ice. Malarchuk lost one-third of his blood, needed 300 stitches to close the wound and had it occurred just a bit higher on the neck he would have died before getting medical attention.
Somehow, someway, Malarchuk was back in the net for the Sabres 11 days later and played three more seasons.
The next one is maybe the most famous injury of all of these: Joe Theismann’s leg injury. Who hasn’t seen this one? The leg of Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann was broken when he was sacked by New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor on Monday Night Football. Theismann’s right leg snapped between the knee and ankle and he never played another game after the injury on Nov. 18, 1985.
His leg was disgustingly snapped and went in ways that legs aren’t supposed to go. That one is too famous of an injury not to mention.
This wasn’t accidental but it was gruesome nonetheless: Mike Tyson bites Evander Holyfield’s ears. This wasn’t accidental but it was gruesome nonetheless. The heavyweight bout between Mike Tyson and Holyfield became known as “The Bite Fight” after Tyson twice bit Holyfield’s ears, both of them and spit a piece out into the ring. Tyson claimed he did it in retaliation for headbutts by Holyfield.
The fight was stopped, Tyson was disqualified and later was stripped of his license by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Tyson has recently talked about stepping in the ring again and I’ll tell you, even at 54 years old, he looks horrifying to go against.
Wrestling, WFC, MMA and boxing all seem to have the most potential to see a scary injury. Because more dirtiness and craziness seem to go. The most gruesome of all the gruesome injuries may have occurred in wrestling when Mick Foley literally got his ear ripped off. Part of Nick Foley’s ear loosened when his head was tied between two ropes and then knocked off by his opponent. When he finally freed himself, his ear was split, and then Foley and Vader began trading blows. Vader then reached at Foley’s ear and off fell part of that split ear into the middle of the ring. The referee picked it up and handed it to the ring announcer, who took it to the back.
To this day, Foley is still missing an ear.
To get in the spooky season, maybe Google: “Worst injuries in sports history” there’s some truly awful ones we didn’t even get to. Including Ronnie Lott cutting off his finger to continue playing and concussions videos of players laying unconscious on the field. Sports can be scary.