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Top Five Worst Injuries in Sports History

Ella Wachtel
Sport injuries can cause many setbacks for athletes as they recover.

Injuries in sports can be some of the most devastating and emotional moments for players, coaches, and die-hard fans. Some of the most horrific injuries have prevented athletes from reaching their full potential and finally bringing home a championship to their organization. Here are the top five most horrific injuries in sports history.

At number five, we have Steve Yeager getting impaled in the neck from a broken bat in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1976. Yeager was impaled after a broken bat flew from the plate all the way to the on-deck circle and made a 4-inch incision through his neck.

He’s very fortunate. The wound just missed the nerve column that controls feeling in the hands and arms. It was also close to his windpipe and close to a major artery.” said a Los Angeles Dodgers team spokesman via stadiumtalk.

Yeager would only be out of the starting lineup for 19 days and would face no major injuries after all of the splinters were removed from his neck. 

At the number four spot we have Oklahoma City Thunder guard, and NBA All-Star, Gordon Hayward dislocating his ankle along with fracturing his leg. In 2017, Hayward was playing for the Boston Celtics and went up for an alley-oop and unfortunately his weight collapsed under his legs and caused his feet to buckle under the basket. 

“I remember looking at my foot, and it just doesn’t look normal and didn’t look right at all,” said Hayward via

Hayward would need immediate surgery and would miss the rest of the 2017-2018 season and a majority of the 2018-2019 NBA season. Hayward’s injury is regarded as the most gruesome injury in NBA history, but it does not even come close to the number one spot.  

At the number three spot we have NFL Hall-of-Fame safety Ronnie Lott needing part of his pinky to be amputated due to a bone-crushing collision while trying to make a tackle in 1985.

“I tried to stand up, but I broke into a cold sweat. It was just a total shock. I thought, ‘Oh, man, I should have had the pin put in,’” said Lott via RichEisenShow.

Lott would continue to play in 1985 but would continuously feel pain in his pinky every snap of every game. 

Lott decided that after the 1985 season he would forgo surgery and would amputate half an inch of his pinky, so he would be able to have a chance of playing in the 1986 season. He would not miss any time during the next season and would later finish with a league high 10 interceptions the following year. 

Lott’s decision to amputate his pinky is regarded as one of the most heroic decisions made in sports history and has given Lott a ton of respect from all NFL fans.

At the number two spot we have Mickey Mantle, Center Fielder for the New York Yankees tearing his ACL in the 1951 World Series. During the 5th inning in game two, Mantle was chasing for a fly ball and he ran over a sprinkler head which caused his knees to buckle as he collapsed to the ground. 

“A lot of people though that somebody had just been shot, along with Joe (DiMaggio),” said Mantle via

Mantle would miss the rest of the 1951 World Series with a torn ACL and would have immediate surgery. Although Mantle’s recovery went well, the technology and tools in 1951 to repair a torn ACL was not anywhere close to what doctors use today. 

Mantle would never be the same player and would play through pain every single game for the rest of his 17 year career. Even though Mantle suffered a horrific injury during his rookie year, he is still regarded as one of the best center-fielders of-all-time and one of the craziest what-if’s in sports history. 

The most terrifying and horrific moment in sports history happened in 1989 when Clint Malarchuk’s neck was severed by a blade from an ice skate. Malarchuk was a goalkeeper for the Buffalo Sabers and was attacked inside of the crease by a winger on the St. Louis Blues. 

Malarchuk would lose 1.5 liters of blood and would be saved by Sabers athletic trainer who had previously been in the U.S Army. He would pinch Malarchuck’s blood vessel which would stop a majority of the bleeding and would stabilize him until he reached the hospital. 

Malarchuk would need 300 stitches but was back on the ice as the Sabers goalie only 10 days later.

“I think: ‘I’m going to die in two or three minutes.’ My first thought was to get off the ice, because my mom was watching on TV up in Canada,” said Malarchuk via CBC.

Injuries in sports have been some of the most gruesome and horrific moments in human history, but without some of these moments, the safety and care for athletes wouldn’t be where it is today. 

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About the Contributors
Riley Congdon
Riley Congdon, Sports Writer
Ella Wachtel
Ella Wachtel, Photographer
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