Clint Malarchuk – Neck
Hockey is known for being a violent sport, but no injury has ever been as gruesome as when Buffalo Sabres goaltender, Clint Malarchuk, became entangled with another player. The other player’s ice skate sliced Malarchuk’s jugular vein, and blood quickly pooled on the ice. He ended up needing surgery and 300 stitches. The most amazing part? Malarchuk walked off the ice on his own.
Joe Theismann – Leg
The NFL sees its fair share of injuries every Sunday, but Joe Theismann’s career-ending broken leg ranks among the most memorable. In 1985, linebacker Lawrence Taylor tackled the Washington Redskins quarterback, snapping his leg in two places. Fans witnessed the incident on live TV, including the image of Theismann’s tibia protruding from his skin.
Kevin Everett – Spinal Cord
When Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett suffered an injury on the field in 2007, fans and players on both teams watched in shock as he laid on the field, unable to move. This resulted in emergency surgery on his fractured spinal cord, a few days spent on a respirator, and a dismal outlook for Everett’s future. While he is now able to walk again, Everett continues to recover.
Steve Moore – Head and Neck
Rivalries, such as the one between the Colorado Avalanche and Vancouver Canucks, are a major part of sports, but occasionally, they go too far. In 2004, in the midst of an already heated season, Todd Bertuzzi punched the Avalanche’s Steve Moore in the back of the head before falling on top of him. Moore lay motionless on the ice with several fractured neck vertebrae and a concussion.
Napoleon McCallum – Knee
When it comes to NFL injures, Joe Theismann’s has to be the worst, but Raiders running back, Napoleon McCallum’s dislocated knee is a close second. San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ken Norton, Jr. tackled McCallum, and the two got tangled together. Muscles tore away from the bone, arteries ruptured, and ligaments tore. The doctor said it was one of the most horrific injuries he’d ever seen.
Trent McCleary – Lung and Larynx
In 2000, Montreal Canadiens player Trent McCleary proved just how dangerous hockey can be, even without the fights. The puck hit McCleary right in the area of his larynx, shattering it and collapsing a lung. He walked away from the game, but fans didn’t know he couldn’t breath or speak until he collapsed on the bench. Thankfully, medical staff on the scene partially opened his airway.
Bryan Berard – Eye
A description of the eye injury Bryan Berard experienced while playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs is enough to make you want to wear safety goggles to walk to the mailbox. Doctors feared Berard would lose the eye that another player sliced right through. Seven surgeries later, they not only saved the eye but restored his vision to 20/600.
Willis McGahee – Knee
Most injuries of this nature end a football star’s career, but Willis McGahee managed to get through it and go on to become an NFL star who made the Pro Bowl twice. It took place at the 2003 Fiesta Bowl when McGahee played for the University of Miami. He caught a pass and quickly took a hit that bent his knee completely backwards, tearing his ACL, PCL, and MCL.
Marcin Wasilewski – Leg
If you think soccer is much safer than football or hockey, just ask Polish star Marcin Wasilewski. In 2009, during a Belgian first league soccer match, he suffered a double leg fracture that broke both his tibia and fibula and the skin. “It looked like I had been bitten by a shark,” Wasilewski once said of the injury. Surprisingly, he got back to the sport within a year.
Borje Salming – Face
It’s bad enough to receive an injury in the midst of making a game-winning play, but imagine it happening after you hit the ground. In 1986, during a match-up between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, someone knocked Leafs player Borje Salming to the ground. Before he could get up, another player stepped on his face with his skate. The injury required surgery and over 200 stitches.