The Top 20 Weirdest Injuries In Sports History

With strange season ending injuries to stars Terrell Suggs and Mariano Rivera within the last 24 hours, Josh Helmuth takes a look at the strangest of all-time.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

Two stars go down in the same day.

Early Thursday morning it was released that Ravens All-Pro linebacker Terrell Suggs partially tore his Achilles tendon while playing pick-up basketball. Just hours later ESPN reported that Suggs contacted them and explained that he was actually injured during a conditioning drill.

Thursday evening, panic then struck Yankee nation as reports emerged that all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera suffered a torn ACL and meniscus after falling awkwardly on the warning track inside Kauffman stadium while shagging fly balls during pre-game warm ups. The injury could end Rivera’s career, considering he is 42 years old.

I wish both Suggs and Rivera the best in their recovery. But when two stars go down in the same day, it really gets you thinking about the all the weird injuries you’ve seen over the years.

Below are my favorites. While some are new — and I remember as if they happened yesterday — others are very old and therefore could be urban legend. Either way, I promise the list is an entertaining read.


20. George Brett – Brett must have had the day off. While doing laundry in his suburban Kansas City home in 1983, the Royals player had the Cubs game on in another room. When he heard the announcer say that Bill Buckner was up to bat – a favorite of Brett’s – George raced into the other room to watch…only he hit his foot on a door jamb and broke his toe in doing so. He was put on the disabled list soon after.

19. Lionel Simmons – Missed two games during his 1991 rookie year because he developed tendonitis in his right wrist and forearm from playing too much GameBoy. I’m pretty sure basketball pays better than Tetris. Although Tetris had great music, didn’t it?

18. Matt Holliday – The Cardinals player had to leave left field during a game in 2011 because a moth flew into his ear. Holliday was fine the next day, surviving the incident. The moth did not.

17.  Bill Gramatica – Just like his brother Martin – who was a also a kicker in the NFL – Bill had a tradition of jumping up and down in celebratory fashion after making a field goal…any field goal. In 2001, Bill leaped in the air after putting up his Cardinals up 3-0 over the Giants during a regular season game… only this time he landed awkwardly, tearing his ACL, missing the rest of the season. Sound familiar? (Rivera) Anytime you read, ‘landed awkwardly,’ you know it can’t be marvelous.

16. Wade Boggs – The Hall-of-Fame third baseman missed seven games after straining his back…while trying to pull on his cowboy boots.

15. Ramalho – The Brazilian soccer player once missed a few days after taking a suppository…orally.

14. Clint Barmes – Currently a utility infielder for the Pirates, Barmes was on his way to a ‘Rookie of the Year’ type season in 2005, hitting .329 through the first 54 games of the season. That all came to a close after Barmes fell down a flight of stairs, breaking his collarbone. Barmes said he was carrying deer meat given to him by teammate Todd Helton, and lost his balance. Clint had to have a titanium plate and nine screws inserted to help his bone heal and was out three months. I hope he at least made some fantastic venison burgers.

13. Gus Frerotte – In 1997, the quarterback got so excited after rushing in for a touchdown that he headbutted the wall lining the stands in the back of the endzone. Though it was padded, the wall behind it was not. The concrete lying beneath the padding couldn’t have been pleasant for Frerotte’s neck; he sat out the rest of the game with neck pain.

12. Kendrys Morales – After coming off an MVP-like season in 2009, the Angels first baseman hit a walk-off grand slam against the Mariners in May 2010…only when he jumped on home plate in celebratory fashion amongst his mob of teammates, he landed awkwardly (there it is again) and broke his leg. Morales finally made his return from the injury this past spring.

11.  Marty Cordova – The Orioles left fielder was out for day games for awhile in 2002 because of a wicked sunburn to the face…due to falling asleep in a tanning bed.

10. Nolan Ryan – Talk about something that is out of the Chuck Norris handbook – Ryan once showed up to spring training recovering from a coyote bite that he suffered while supposedly tending cattle on his Texas ranch. Though if it were Chuck, the Coyote would have suffered the bite.

9. Paulo Diogo – I take this one from the gross department – After scoring a goal in 2004, the Servette midfielder decided to celebrate by jumping into the crowd…only his wedding band caught the fence in the process, ripping off the top of his finger. Diogo’s finger couldn’t be saved and he was called by the refs for ‘excessive celebration.’

8. and 7. Sammy Sosa and Matt Latos – Both players were sidelined due to a killer ‘sneeze.’ That’s right, sneezing. Sosa threw out his back in 2004 after a violent sneeze while with the Cubbies. And Latos developed a side pain deep enough to land him on the 15-day DL in 2010 after a stifled sneeze while playing for the Padres.

6. Glenallen Hill – While with the Blue Jays in 1990, Hill had a nightmare about spiders…evidently it was a terror of a dream. Hill, supposedly, either fell out of bed and through a glass table, or bounced off a wall while sleepwalking and ran into a glass table. No matter how you slice it (pun intended), Hill missed a handful of games with cuts all over his body. Hill garnered the nickname ‘Spiderman’ for years to come.

5. Steve Sparks – The knuckleballer missed an opportunity to make his first major league roster in 1994 while with the Brewers during spring training…because he tried ripping a phone book while imitating a group of motivational speakers who had visited them. He dislocated his shoulder.

4. Clarence Blethen – According to legend, Blethen—who pitched for the Red Sox — liked to carry his false teeth in his back pocket while he played. One day during the 1923 season, Blethen slid into second base to break up a double play. During the slide, his teeth bit him in the butt, leading to a bloody mess that forced him out of the contest.

3. Vince Coleman – The Cardinals’ 1985 Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star was knocked out of the rest of the post-season after he was injured by the tarp. Yup…the tarp. Supposedly while doing his warmup routine before the 1985 NLCS, Coleman was unaware that the electrical tarp machine had started to cover the field. The machine rolled over Coleman’s leg, chipping a bone in his knee.

2. Joel Zumaya – In short, Zumaya missed the Tiger’s deep playoff run in 2006 because of a sprained wrist he suffered from playing too much Guitar Hero. In the next Xbox 360 version that was released, the game had a disclaimer that read, "No pitchers were harmed in the making of this game. Except for one. Joel Zumaya. He had it coming."

1. Bobby Cruickshank – Don’t throw your clubs in the air folks, even if it’s putt-putt (I did the same thing at a mini-golf course, only it hit my buddy’s girlfriend’s foot – true story) But that's neither here nor there…Cruickshank led the 1934 U.S. Open with eight holes to play. On the 11th, he botched a shot, sending it into a creek. However, miraculously enough, the ball bounced off a rock, landing on the putting green. Cruickshank exuberantly tossed his club in the air in celebration, but on the way down, the club hit him in the head, knocking him unconscious. Cruickshank was able to finish the tournament, but bogeyed several of the remaining holes, tying for third overall.

Photo Credit: AP

Josh Helmuth is the sports editor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JHelmuth or subscribe at