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Top 20 Tragic Sports Injuries Caught on Camera

Top 20 Tragic Sports Injuries Caught on Camera
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Kamil Roy
These sports injuries will give you nightmares. Welcome to WatchMojo and today, we're counting down our picks for the Top 20 Most Tragic Sports Injuries Caught on Camera. Our countdown of the most tragic sports injuries caught on camera includes Paul George, Paulo Diogo, Anderson Silva, Joe Theismann, and more!

Top 20 Most Tragic Sports Injuries Caught on Camera


Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Most Tragic Sports Injuries Caught on Camera. Just so we’re clear, we aren’t including any entries that came as a result of malicious intent or ones that resulted in death.


#20: Allan Ray

Considering how often defenders put their hands near players’ faces, it’s pretty remarkable that more athletes don’t get poked in the eye – but when it does happen, it can be a pretty nasty injury. While playing for Villanova during the 2006 Big East Tournament, Allan Ray got poked in the eye by Carl Krauser while fighting for a loose ball. Ray’s eye looked like it had literally popped out of its socket, causing him to lose his vision. Luckily for Ray, his eyelid had gone behind his eye and he only suffered soft tissue damage, returning to action in less than a week. Regardless, it’s a pretty nasty injury to see again, especially in slow motion.


#19: Matt Henry

This one may not look like much at first glance, but it’s truly horrific when you slow it down. Henry was a star running back for the University of Manitoba, and back in 2007 the team was attempting to complete a perfect season by winning the 43rd Vanier Cup. Unfortunately, Henry never made it out of the first quarter. On a seemingly innocent looking tackle, Henry’s leg flew over his shoulder and ended up backwards over his head. Henry suffered a broken femur on the play, fracturing it in three places.


#18: Paul George

Back in 2014, Paul George, one of the rising stars in the NBA for the Indiana Pacers, was tapped to represent the United States at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. Unfortunately, he never made it there. During a scrimmage in Las Vegas, George fell and landed awkwardly after attempting to block a James Harden layup. His leg snapped against the base of the basket stanchion, causing him to fracture both bones in his lower right leg. Despite many believing George would miss the entire NBA season, he remarkably returned in April to play the Pacers’ final six games, and helped the U.S. win gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.


#17: Marcus Lattimore

As a freshman running back in 2010, Marcus Lattimore burst onto the scene in the SEC, rushing for over 1100 yards and 17 touchdowns and leading South Carolina to a spot in the SEC Championship Game. An injury cut his 2011 season short, but he returned the following year to pick up where he left off. His season ended early again, however – this time because of a horrific knee injury during a game against the Tennessee Volunteers. Lattimore not only tore every ligament in his right knee; he also dislocated it and suffered nerve damage, essentially ending his football career.


#16: Shaun Livingston

Now, we’re used to seeing Shaun Livingston helping the Golden State Warriors to dominate the NBA. But, what you may not know is that his career nearly ended back in 2007 because of this terrible injury. After missing a layup, Livingston landed awkwardly, completely destroying his left knee. He tore his ACL, PCL and lateral meniscus, and dislocated his tibio-fibular joint and patella. One doctor even told him that his leg may need to be amputated, and there were concerns that he may never walk again. It was nearly 20 months before he played in another NBA game.


#15: Tyrone Prothro

Here’s another college football star who never had a chance to shine in the NFL because of an injury. Tyrone Prothro was an electric wide receiver for Alabama back in the mid-2000s, but all that came to an end during a game against the Florida Gators. Prothro attempted to make a leaping touchdown catch, but couldn’t quite come up with the ball and landed hard on the ground. Unfortunately, the Florida Gators’ cornerback landed on top of Prothro’s left leg, completely snapping it in half. Prothro broke both his tibia and fibula, and never played football again. He’s since had 11 extensive surgeries on his leg, and it’s still not 100%.


#14: Paulo Diogo

If your significant other is wondering why you aren’t wearing your ring while you play soccer, show them this video. Celebrating a late goal, Paulo Diogo jumped onto the metal fence in front of the fans. What he failed to realize was that his wedding ring was actually stuck in the fence – and when he jumped down, his ring stayed attached, as did most of his ring finger. To make matters worse, he received a yellow card for his celebration, and doctors couldn’t re-attach that part of his finger. That’s what we call adding insult to injury.


#13: Jessica Dubé

Pairs figure skating requires the utmost trust between partners, as they’re often either catching you or performing high-speed spins alongside you. If one partner is off by even an inch or a second, disaster can strike. Jessica Dubé found this out the hard way back in 2007 at the Four Continents Championships in Colorado. Skating with her partner Bryce Davison, the pair attempted to complete a side-by-side camel spin. Dubé drifted towards Davison, however, resulting in the blade of his skate striking the side of her face. She needed 83 stitches to repair the cut on her nose and left cheek, and both skaters received treatment for PTSD.


#12: Leslie Smith

UFC fighters are some of the toughest people on the planet. For instance, only a UFC fighter could have their ear literally explode and exclaim “I’m fine” while attempting to continue the fight. While fighting Jessica Eye at UFC 180, Smith was struck with a right hand directly in the ear. Blood sprayed out immediately, and a closer look showed that the ear was basically hanging off her head. The doctors and referee agreed to end the fight to prevent any more damage, much to the chagrin of Smith.

#11: Trent McCleary

Hockey players are some of the most fearless athletes out there. On January 29th, 2000, Montreal Canadiens forward Trent McCleary proved it by dropping to the ice to block a slapshot from Philadelphia Flyers’ defenseman Chris Therien. The puck hit McCleary in his throat from only a few feet away, however, fracturing his larynx and causing a collapsed lung. McCleary was minutes away from dying on the ice, but the medical staff at the Montreal arena was able to partially open his airway and he was rushed to hospital for an emergency tracheotomy so rushed McCleary was still in his skates during the procedure. But the operation saved his life.


#10:Richard Zednik

The only plus side of Jessica Dubé’s injury was that she didn’t take the skate blade to her neck. Richard Zednik did. In a game against the Buffalo Sabres, Zednik’s teammate Olli Jokinen fell in front of him, accidentally clipping Zednik’s neck with his skate blade. The blade cut his external carotid artery, and he immediately raced off the ice, leaving a trail of blood behind him. Although he lost five units of blood, the artery had not been severed, and doctors were able to perform emergency surgery to fix the laceration. Zednik missed the remainder of the season, but returned the following year to play 70 games.




#9: Anderson Silva

As of the time of writing, Anderson Silva holds the record for the longest win streak in UFC history. This streak ended with a defeat at the hands of Chris Weidman, however, in July of 2013. A rematch between the two fighters was held on December 28th, 2013, but this fight went even worse for Silva. In the second round, Weidman checked one of Silva’s leg kicks, which resulted in a horrific break for the Brazilian fighter. Silva’s foot literally wrapped around Weidmen’s leg. Silva would rally, however, and defeat Nick Diaz in UFC 183 in his return – although that win was tainted by charges of drug use.




#8: Moisés Alou

The lack of physical contact makes baseball one of the “safer” sports, but the injury suffered by Montreal Expos’ outfielder Moisés Alou was truly horrific. Playing at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium on September 16th, 1993, Alou shot a ball into left field, and subsequently took a wide turn while rounding a base. As he attempted to stop and retreat to the bag, his ankle snapped and looks as though it’s been turned 90 degrees. Even an umpire, seeing exactly what we saw, couldn’t look. Alou had to be carried off the field and missed the rest of the 1993 season.




#7: Sid Vicious

Wrestling is supposed to be scripted and choreographed, but we have a hard time believing this injury to Sid Vicious was planned. On January 14th, 2001, facing pressure from World Championship Wrestling management to expand his repertoire of moves, Vicious attempted an aerial maneuver on Scott Steiner called the big boot from the second turnbuckle. He landed awkwardly on his left leg, however, snapping both his tibia and fibula, with the bones breaking through the skin. Vicious needed two hours of surgery and a 17-inch rod in his leg, and required a cane to walk for a while afterwards. Amazingly, he eventually stepped back into the ring, returning to the WWE in 2012.

#6: Kevin Ware

It’s one thing when a professional athlete suffers a horrible injury. But it’s truly tragic when it happens at the college level to young athletes who are not earning any money. On March 31st, 2013, Louisville Cardinals guard Kevin Ware suffered one of the most gruesome injuries you will ever see in an Elite Eight game against the Duke Blue Devils. Ware attempted to block a three-point shot, but when he landed, he snapped his tibia, which resulted in the bone protruding out of his shin. The players on the bench and fans in the first few rows were visibly shaken after seeing the extent of the injury – as was the entire internet when the clip went viral.


#5: Djibril Cissé

Some people have the worst luck. And while Djibril Cissé is a football star, we’d still say he has some bad luck, as he broke both of his legs in the span of less than two years. The first incident came on October 30th, 2004 while he was playing for Liverpool, when Cissé’s boot got caught in the turf, snapping the tibia and fibula in his left leg – an injury that was supposedly so serious the athlete easily could’ve lost his leg below the knee. Then, while playing for France in a warm-up game against China on June 7th, 2006, Cissé’s right boot got caught in the turf once again, resulting in another nasty broken leg. Amazingly, Cissé recovered from both injuries and scored more than 50 goals over two seasons from 2009-2011.


#4: Willis McGahee

Returning to college sports once again, Willis McGahee was one of the most important players on the 2002 Miami Hurricanes team that finished the season ranked #1 in the polls. In the 2003 Fiesta Bowl National Championship Game against Ohio State, the Hurricanes found themselves down 17-14 in the fourth quarter. McGahee caught a screen pass but was immediately hit low by Ohio safety Will Allen. McGahee’s knee bent backwards resulting in ACL, PCL and MCL tears. The end this entry on a positive note, after a long rehabilitation process, McGahee eventually made the NFL and had a successful career.


#3: Joe Theismann

Washington Redskins QB Joe Theismann had a successful NFL career that saw him win one Super Bowl. However, he may be best remembered for suffering through what was labeled “The Hit That No One Who Saw It Can Ever Forget” by The Washington Post, and the resulting injury that ended his career on November 18th, 1985. Dropping back to pass in a Monday Night Football game against the rival NY Giants, Theismann was hit by Lawrence Taylor, with Gary Reasons and Harry Carson also piling on. Taylor’s knee hit Theismann with such force that it snapped his tibia and fibula. You know it’s bad when the opposing players are desperately calling for medical assistance. And it was bad: Theismann was forced to retire at the age of 36.


#2: Alex McKinnon

It’s been said that rugby is a hooligan’s sport played by gentlemen. And Rugby players arguably put their bodies on the line more than any other athlete. Unfortunately for rugby league player Alex McKinnon, this resulted in a life-changing injury. Playing for the Newcastle Knights in 2014, McKinnon was involved in a dangerous play when he was tackled by Melbourne Storm forward Jordan McLean and his head was driven hard into the ground. The collision fractured two of McKinnon’s vertebrae, paralyzing him on the spot in one of the scariest scenes ever in a sporting event. Remarkably, McKinnon was able to stand up after just 10 months of rehab, and still believes he will one day be able to walk again.



#1: Clint Malarchuk

Considering how sharp hockey players keep their skates, it’s remarkable we don’t see more serious lacerations. Nothing compares to Clint Malarchuk. The goaltender for the Buffalo Sabres, Malarchuk and his team were facing the St. Louis Blues on March 22nd, 1989 when the goalie’s carotid artery was severed by a skate blade in a collision in the crease. Though Malarchuk had already requested a priest, his life was miraculously saved by the team’s athletic trainer – a Vietnam vet and former Army medic – who pinched off the blood vessel until doctors arrived. In total, Malarchuk lost 1.5 liters of blood and required 300 stitches.
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