Blood, guts and inglory
Five moments in sports history that will haunt your dreams
by Bryce Forbes
Halloween is one of the only times that a man can scream in terror.
The other — freaky, gruesome moments in sports.
Of course, it’s not the same blood-curdling scream like when Jason chases down another college co-ed. But I’ll cover my eyes and hide my face in a pillow every time an athlete’s joint goes out of place or their leg snaps the wrong way.
Injuries are an inevitable component of sports. Some are no one’s fault. Others are pretty easy to point and wag a very large finger of blame at (I’m looking at you Mr. Bertuzzi and Mr. McSorley.)
Most will remember Todd Bertuzzi bertuzzying Steve Moore, Marty McSorley tomahawking Donald Brashear and Andrew Bogut’s elbow exploding, but what about some of the lesser known, far worse injuries.
The latest death of race car driver Dan Wheldon when he flipped his car showed just how tragic sports can be.
So without further ado, the five most gruesome moments in sporting history that could cause a viewer to lose their stomach.
5: Trent McCleary’s lung: When blocking a shot in hockey, I was taught to keep your head up on the near-boards side, so your legs would more likely end up in the path of the shot on net.
Unfortunately for McLeary, he must have forgotten this rule.
In a 2000 game against the Phil
adelphia Flyers, the Montreal Canadiens defenseman ended up taking a Chris Therien slapshot in the larynx, collapsing his lung and requiring him to undergo life-saving surgery almost immediately. He couldn’t talk for six weeks following the incident and was forced to retire from the game following a brief, unsuccessful comeback.
4: Joe Theismann’s leg: Remember “The Blind Side”? It was a simple football movie and arguably Sandra Bullock’s best role. The first scene shows New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor rushing in and snapping the Washington Redskins’ quarterback’s leg in two. The moment it happened, Taylor knew it was a terrible result and was the first person to call for the trainers.
It was dubbed “the hit that no one who saw it can ever forget” by The Washington Post in 2008.
The legendary Theismann was forced into retirement.
3: Clint Malarchuk’s throat slashed: Back when I collected hockey cards, one of the first cards I got was Steve Tuttle. I thought he was a cool card because his name sounded like turtle. Then my dad explained to me what Tuttle was most famous for accidentally slashing former Buffalo Sabres’ goalie Clint Malarchuk’s throat. The cut severed an internal artery and nearly killed him.
It was estimated that if the skate caught him only millimeters higher on the jugular, he would have died within two minutes.
It took doctors over 300 stitches to close the wound.
Amazingly, less than a week later, he was back tending the net for the Buffalo Sabres. Unfortunately, his career went downhill after the incident and he’s now a goaltending coach with the Calgary Flames.
2: Dave Dravecky’s arm: Besides number one on the list, Dravecky’s injury is by far the most tragic. The one-time all-star pitcher was diagnosed with cancer in 1988. He underwent surgery in October that year, removing part of his deltoid muscle and freezing the humorous bone to stop the spread of cancer.
Only 11 months later, he was already back pitching in the major leagues. He pitched one great game, but during his second start, his arm snapped — the cancer had returned. He then broke it again a few months later. After two more surgeries, his arm and shoulder had to be amputated. I suggest watching a documentary on YouTube about him as it’s amazing to think that only 20 years ago, he was a starting pitcher.
1: Ray Chapman’s head: Before YouTube, before television, hell — before baseball helmets, Ray Chapman was plunked in the head with a Carl Mays spitball.
It’s been said the ball hit Chapman with such speed that Mays actually thought it hit the bat, fielded the ball and threw to first. Some reports said Chapman took three or four steps before collapsing. Others said Chapman instantly folded with blood coming out of his ears. Either way, Chapman died just 12 hours later.
He was 29.
PS: While researching this topic, every new video I saw almost made me puke as I continued looking for other additions.
YouTube if you dare.