Fireworks that blew off an entire hand? An iPhone that lead to a drastic drop in shooting percentage? How about blisters from too much video games? Yep, some of these injuries are easily avoidable and utterly stupid. Others accidents, like a broken leg celebrating a grand slam, were just unlucky but noteworthy nonetheless. Introducing the wildest, most bizarre injuries and accidents in sports history.
Jason Pierre-Paul’s Explosive Night
On July 3, 2015, Jason Pierre-Paul, the star pass rusher on the New York Giants, was living his best life. He and his 10 fingers were relaxing in the offseason, preparing for an explosive July 4th celebration. One day later, JPP was in a hospital, counting how many fingers he still had left. In one of the dumbest off-field accidents in sports history, JPP, a man who uses his hands for a living, blew off nearly his entire right hand with a firework. In a flash, JPP’s right hand was shredded, covered in blood and soot from the explosion.
Despite losing three fingers entirely and having the remaining two reduced to stubs, JPP made a successful return to football. Initially, he was forced to wear a massive club on his arm that impeded his play, but after the injury healed up completely (as much as it could, at least), JPP was fitted with a custom Under Armour glove.
Insert hand pun here, such as, “Gotta hand it to him for making a brave comeback.”
Madison Bumgarner’s ATV Adventure
Talk about the antithesis for ride of your life. On an off-day in Denver in 2017, Giants ace Madison Bumgarner thought it would be a good idea to go dirt biking, which in all likelihood was a direct violation of his contract. Sadly for Bumgarner, he didn’t go all Evel Knievel. Instead he went all “what the hell did I just do?” He fell, and he didn’t emerge with just some minor scrapes and bruises.
Nope, he sustained a Grade 2 sprain of the AC joint in his left shoulder, meaning he had a partial tear, and also bruised some ribs. In total, the ace was forced to miss about three months of baseball and apologized one-on-one to each of his teammates who he undoubtedly let down.
Jay Williams Ruins His Career
He was slated to be Chicago’s point guard of the future when he was drafted second overall out of Duke University in 2002. But a nasty motorcycle crash cut short those plans and projections. The summer after an impressive rookie season, Williams decided to get on a motorcycle and go for a late-night cruise, which violated nearly every team rule. Not only did Williams violate his contract with the Bulls, he was also not licensed in Illinois, nor was he wearing a helmet.
According to Williams, he revved his bike a few times and on the third rev, the bike slipped into gear, rocketing Williams at uncontrollable speeds. Williams, who was unintentionally doing a wheelie, was sling-shot into a pole and was thrown violently from his bike. He suffered numerous ligament tears in his leg and broken bones. He never stepped on an NBA court again.
Plaxico Burress: A Big Shot
He was a star receiver for the New York Giants, but he wasn’t the brightest. Because when you go out to the club drinking, you should probably leave your gun at home. If you must bring it out with you, it’s best to not have a round in the chamber. Plaxico Burress thought otherwise, and while he was popping bottles in 2008, his gun was accidentally popping rounds.
That’s right, Burress’ gun went off in his pants and wounded him in the leg. The damage could have been much worse, but it did lead to a jail sentence and the start of his demise from the NFL. Turns out Plaxico wasn’t legally allowed to have a gun on his person because he didn’t have a concealed carry permit in New York.
Ben Roethlisberger: A Helmet-less Headcase
What is it about athletes and their motorcycles? Getting a motorcycle when you’re a young celebrity just seems like a bad idea. Plus, in nearly every instance, it’s a violation of one’s contract. While riding his ninja-style bike without a helmet or a valid license, Big Ben was cut off by a car and was sent flying through the air. He landed head first on the car’s windshield, breaking the glass but, miraculously, not his head. Paramedics arrived to the scene and, according to Roethlisberger, saved his life by stopping excessive bleeding.
Following the accident, Roethlisberger lied about both being a licensed driver and riding exclusively Harley Davidson bikes. He also stated that riding without a helmet was a more liberating experience. Maybe he should also try playing football without a helmet? Better vision, more fun, and he already seems to have a very hard head.
Charles Barkley and Eric Clapton
Back in 1994, Charles Barkley was heavily into Eric Clapton. The Suns star power forward was jamming at a Clapton concert days before the Suns’ season opener. While at the show, the bright lights and some minor allergies began to irritate Barkley’s eyes. Naturally, the big man rubbed his eyes. He needed to watch with crystal-clear vision Mr. Clapton shred on the guitar.
But, before Barkley rubbed his eyes he applied some body lotion to keep his skin super smooth. Unfortunately, the lotion contacted his eyes and caused a major reaction that burned his corneas. Barkley, after seeing an opthamologist, was forced to wear an eye patch for 12 hours and missed the Suns’ season opener. Fortunately, there was no permanent damage.
Bill Gramatica Takes a Knee
What do you do if you hit a 42-yard field goal midway through the first quarter? Maybe some high fives. How about a fist pump. Nothing too crazy right? Well, if you’re Bill Gramatica, hitting a fairly easy kick requires an above-and-beyond celebration replete with a running fist pump and jump. Think Super Mario jumping for the boxes filled with coins. But unlike Super Mario, Gramatica did not have a clean landing.
In fact, he landed awkwardly and crumpled to the ground in agony. It was later revealed that he tore his ACL. The injury forced the rookie kicker to miss the remainder of the season, yet what’s worse than that is Gramatica and his excessive celebration will forever be remembered as one of the dumbest plays in sports history.
Chris Coghlan the Pie Guy
In 2009, Chris Coghlan won the National League Rookie of the Year award. In 2010, Chris Coghlan won the DCOTY award, or for the layman, Dumbest Celebration of the Year award. The Marlins, fresh off a Wes Helms walk-off single, were in full celebration mode when Coghan decided to up the ante.
He snuck up on Helms and delivered a shaving-cream pie straight to the batter’s face, but in the process he somehow managed to tear a meniscus in his knee. Talk about a humble pie. The injury landed him on the disabled list and had to be fixed with surgery. Since the injury, Coghlan hasn’t been the same and his production has declined with each passing season.
Troy Tulowitzki and His Bad Bat
Hulk smash good. Tulo smash bad. Oft-injured shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has had an up-and-down career, marked by amazing defensive plays, timely hits, and lots of injuries, most of which were baseball related. But after being pulled from a game due to poor hitting, Tulowitzki, who had just returned to the field following a lengthy stint on the disabled list, decided to smash a bat on the ground to relieve some pent-up anger.
The bat, this time, got the upper hand. Actually it got his hand, and when the bat splintered, some of the pieces became lodged in Tulo’s hand. This self-inflicted wound could landed him right back on the 15-day disabled list. Tulo apologized to Rockies teammates and coaches for his actions.
Sneezin’ Sammy Sosa
Bless you, Sammy Sosa. After two violent sneezes, Sammy Sosa’s back sneezed up, excuse me, seized up. Ligaments were damaged and so was his reputation. After all, one of the game’s most feared power hitters shouldn’t be headed to the disabled list because of a few sneezes. Due to those fateful outbursts, Sosa was forced to miss a few weeks of playing time while his ligaments recovered.
Today, “Sneezin’” Sammy Sosa lives a relatively secluded life away from the spotlight. He’s failed to garner the necessary amount of votes needed for the Hall of Fame and his skin tone has mysteriously become about 1,000 shades lighter than it was during his playing days, something he attributes to a skin cream used to soften his skin.
Clint Barmes: A Deer Mistake
Oh dear. Clint Barmes was a serviceable MLB infielder for over a decade. He may have been even better, potentially a perennial all-star, had a deer hunting trip not interfered. The story goes that Barmes and superstar teammate Todd Helton were riding ATVs on Helton’s ranch looking for deer. The search was fruitless, but Helton, who had deer meat from a prior hunt, treated Barmes to a venison dinner at his ranch.
Barmes was so enthralled with the taste that Helton gave Barmes a hefty amount of meat to take home. While lugging the meat up the stairs to his apartment, Barmes tripped and fell, breaking his collarbone. The injury required surgery and Barmes’ was never the same player. Colorado traded him one season later and the man who was once supposed to be the N.L. Rookie of the Year bounced around the league until his retirement in 2016.
Tony Allen: No Can Jam
The “Grindfather” as those familiar with the NBA would call him was a stellar defensive player for the Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies. Tony Allen, during his prime, would lock down the game’s greats, like Kobe Bryant. Yet, he may be more famous for an infamous injury he suffered than the championship he won or the All-NBA Defensive Teams he was a part of. During Allen’s third season, the rising star went for a big dead-ball dunk.
The play was whistled dead but Allen continued. He wanted to show off his athleticism for the home crowd. Instead of bringing the crowd to its feet, Allen was brought to his knees. That’s because he landed awkwardly and tore both his ACL and MCL. Fortunately, Allen recovered in time to start the next season and helped the Celtics capture their 17th NBA title.
Joel Zumaya isn’t the Guitar Hero
He’s not the hero the Tigers needed, but he was the guitar hero. High-heat throwing Joel Zumaya is best remembered as the Tigers closer who could absolutely bring the heat. But during the season, Zumaya wasn’t strictly focused on baseball.
He had a secret Guitar Hero addiction. Zumaya was so busy rocking out to the video game that his arm became inflamed and the pitcher was rendered useless. The Tigers had no choice but to leave their future closer off the 2006 ALCS roster. He did, however, recover in time to make it onto the World Series roster, a series that Detroit would lose in five games.
Kendry Morales’ Grand Mistake and Break
It doesn’t get much better than a walk-off grand slam. But for slugger Kendrys Morales, hitting a walk-off grand slam brings up nightmares of old and should be a cautionary tale to future generations of ball players. Morales, at the time with the Angels in 2010, just ended the game with one swing.
When he rounded third and approached the mob of teammates waiting for him at home, Morales jumped in the air so he could emphatically slam down on home plate, a customary tradition. Instead, Morales and his season came crashing down. He broke his leg on an awkward landing and was forced to miss the remainder of the season. As they say, the home run giveth, and the home run taketh away.
Carlos Quentin: Bat Buster
Carlos Quentin’s most notable play may have been when he charged the mound and smashed into opposing pitcher Zack Greinke, breaking the pitcher’s collarbone on the spot. Clearly the guy was a hot-head and couldn’t always keep his emotions in check.
To make matters worse, Quentin was injury prone. So when Quentin foul-tipped a ball (unrelated to the Greinke at bat), he probably shouldn’t have punched his bat in frustration. But he did. And he paid the price with a broken wrist that required season-ending surgery. To add a bit of insult to injury, Quentin, at the time of his foolish injury, was in contention to win the American League MVP award.
Moises Alou and the Terrible Treadmill
In 1998, Moises Alou, then with the Houston Astros, finished third in the N.L. MVP voting. In 1999, Alou was on his couch rehabbing a torn ACL. He didn’t tear it diving for a ball or running hard on the bases. Nor did he tear it while pieing a teammate in the face.
He tore it in the offseason while training on a treadmill. The treadmill, according to the since-retired outfielder, was going too fast and when Alou tried to adjust the controls to slow it down, slipped, tearing his ACL in the process. He missed the entire 1999 season, but fortunately returned healthy enough in 2000 to bat .355.
Gus Frerotte’s Heinous Headbutt
Headbutt Frerotte. Quite possibly this injury is the dumbest on this list and one of the most avoidable. It was entirely self-inflicted and unnecessary, but it did give journeyman quarterback Gus Frerotte a bit of fame he otherwise wouldn’t have had. In 1997, Frerotte scored on a quarterback scramble, nothing too memorable.
But the ensuing celebration was. Frerotte, after crossing the goal line, spiked the ball with all his might and proceeded to charge headfirst into the padded stadium wall. After the dramatic headbutt, Frerotte began to have neck pains and was pulled from the game at half time. While the Redskins battled the Giants, Frerotte was transported by ambulance to the hospital to undergo testing. Thankfully, there was no severe or permanent damage, and Frerotte started the next game.
Vladimir Radmanovic is no Shaun White
Vladamir Radmanovic was not the sharpest tool in the shed. Before we discuss his injury, it’s important to preface this piece with an example that shows just how dumb the man was. Drafted 12th overall by the Sonics, Vlad Rad got off to a solid start in the NBA. For his efforts, the SuperSonics offered the European sharpshooter a six-year $42 million contract. Vlad Rad declined the offer, thinking he was worth much more. He wasn’t, and he never got another contract offer that good.
Now for the injury. While with the Lakers, Vladimir thought it would be a good idea to go snowboarding in Park City, Utah, during All-Star weekend. Suffice it to say, the trip to the mountains didn’t end well. He fell and separated his A.C. joint and was sidelined for months. But then Vlad, being Vlad, tried to cover it up and lied to management. He said he fell on a patch of black ice. Eventually the truth leaked out and Vlad was fined $500,000 for violating his contract.
Brandon ‘Big Mac’ Marshall
If you don’t believe Brandon Marshall’s story, it’s ok, because hardly anyone does. The star receiver was back home in Florida shortly after his second NFL season concluded. According to Marshall, he and about 10 others were up at around 7 a.m. preparing for a fun day of jet skiing. But before you can jet ski, you have to roughhouse and get all of your adrenaline out, and that’s what Marshall and Co. did.
In the midst of the action, Marshall supposedly slipped on an inconveniently placed McDonalds bag and was sent crashing through his television and entertainment system. For his efforts, Marshall severed an artery, vein, and nerve while also tearing five muscles and multiple tendons. Surgery was in the cards but Marshall was able to recover in time for the regular season. He later revealed that he played the entire 2008 season with a numb right hand.
Glenallen Hill: Sub-par Spider Man
Glenallen Hill is one of the players on this list much more famous for his accident than his baseball prowess. While with the Blue Jays, Glenallen Hill, a man who suffers from severe arachnophobia, had a bad dream. Spiders were chasing him and Hill needed to escape.
But instead of waking up, Hill, in a dazed, sleepy state, hopped out of bed, ran into another room, crashed through a glass table, and ran down his stairs to the safety of his living room couch. The incident left Hill with cuts and bruises and a stint on the 15-day disabled list. Since then, he’s been jokingly referred to as “Spider Man.”
Tony Finau’s Fall From Grace
Thanks to Tony Finau, the age-old question of whether or not golfers are athletes has finally been answered: no, they are not. The 29-year-old golfer from Utah helped us come to this conclusion after gruesomely dislocating his ankle celebrating a beautiful shot. Finau, who was playing in the Master’s Par-3 contest, sunk a beautiful hole-in-one.
To celebrate, Finau jumped around exuberantly and went into a full sprint. Then, for some odd reason, he decided to back peddle. During the backpedal, Finau’s ankle completely rolled under his leg. A clean 90 degrees. Finau collapsed to the ground and somehow popped it back into place, which answered our second question: are golfers tough? Yes. Thankfully he was ok and went on to finish 10th at the 2018 Masters.
Chris Hanson: A Leg Up On the Competition
He didn’t catch a predator, that would be Chris Hansen, but punter Chris Hanson did catch an axe blade to the leg. While with the Jaguars, head coach Jack Del Rio was trying to motivate his miserable team, so he brought in a tree stump and an axe so his players could remember to keep choppin’ wood.
Hanson, doing his best lumberjack impression, grabbed the axe and took a mighty swing. Instead of contacting the stump, Hanson sunk the blade into his non-kicking foot. The injury required emergency surgery and sidelined the former Pro Bowler for the rest of the year.
Brandon Inge: The Painful Pillow
Brandon Inge must have the softest injury on this list. Inge is most notable for being a third baseman/ catcher with the Detroit Tigers. In 2009, he was an All-Star, but the year before Inge was at an all-time low thanks to an off-the-diamond injury that he suffered while propping up his son’s pillow.
You read that correctly. Inge was trying to be a good father and went to fluff his son’s pillow but ended up on the disabled list with a strained oblique. Thankfully, Inge was able to put this incident behind him and returned to baseball. Maybe he got a good night’s sleep using a few lighter pillows that his obliques could handle.
David Price: The Ultimate Gamer
Before David Price went on an absolute tear during the 2018 MLB postseason, the big lefty was nowhere to be found in big moments. He was tormented by his playoff demons and his performances in big matchups. Some of his outings were downright embarrassing, but not as embarrassing as when Price was forced to withdraw from a scheduled start against the arch-rival Yankees because he had minor carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) developed from playing too much Fortnite, the video game that took America by storm.
In fact, Price, an avid gamer, admitted to the Boston Globe that he and teammates will game for hours on end following a game: “Let’s say we get back at 11 p.m. from a game, we’ll play until 1 a.m., 1:30 a.m., 2 a.m., depending on what time our game is the next day.”
Marcus ‘Not So’ Smart
Drafted sixth overall out of Oklahoma State, the Celtics selected Marcus Smart for his energy and defense. Not for his shooting. Marcus Smart, actually, has never been the best shooter in the NBA. Apparently he’s not the best at keeping his emotions in check either.
After a disappointing night shooting the ball, Smart went and punched a picture hanging on the wall of the team hotel. Instantly, Smart regretted the move as blood oozed out of the gashes left by the broken glass. In total, Smart required 20 stitches to repair his hand and missed 11 games. Let’s leave the punching to the boxers, Marcus. Celtics nation needs you.
Blake Griffin’s Power Punch
Blake Griffin pulled a Marcus Smart except in a much worse way. Instead of taking his anger out on an inanimate object, Griffin took it out on a Clippers employee. Griffin and the employee, Matias Testi, were playfully arguing and joking when, for reasons that remain guarded, things began to get heated.
Then things took a violent turn when Griffin repeatedly punched Testi in the face. Testi emerged from the scrum with a severely battered face. Griffin wasn’t so lucky. He broke his hand and was handed a multi-game suspension without pay. In addition, Griffin, who at the time was already dealing with a quad injury, was forced to miss even more playing time. In total, the star power forward played in only 39 games that dismal season.
Amare Stoudemire Exits the Playoffs Early
He’s lucky he only missed a game and was on the receiving end of a cavalcade of jokes. Amare Stoudemire and the Knicks miraculously managed to get into the NBA playoffs in 2012. After falling into an 0-2 hole to the Miami Heat, Stoudemire needed to let off some steam.
To extinguish his frustrations, he punched a fire extinguisher box, shattering glass everywhere while severely cutting his hand. The injury required a lot of stitches and forced the star to miss Game 3. Luckily, the injury missed his nerves and tendons by millimeters. The Knicks fortunes, however, weren’t so lucky. They lost to Miami in five games.
Matt Bonner Can’t Handle the iPhone
Matt Bonner is no NBA legend, but he was a decent shooter who made a lengthy career for himself sinking threes and following the game plan. He was a fixture of the Spurs organization and was a member of two championship teams. He’s also one of the first players to come forward and admit that their shooting percentage dropped because of an iPhone.
Yep, Bonner, who stands at 6-foot-10-inch, apparently doesn’t have big enough hands to grasp the iPhone 6s. According to Bonner, the new phone disrupted what his body was accustomed too and gave him tennis elbow. Thus the explanation for the precipitous drop in shooting from beyond the arc.
George Brett, Bill Buckner, and a Broken Toe
He’s a crazy man no doubt. Just look at the pine tar outburst if you’re curious. He’s also a great friend of Bill Buckner. During an off-day in 1983, Brett was doing some laundry when he heard on the t.v. that his ol’ pal Buckner was stepping to the plate. Back then there was no YouTube or ways to record the game, so Brett had to make a split-second decision: sprint in and watch the game or finish the laundry.
Brett went with the first option and took off like a bat out of hell. Mid sprint, Brett slammed his toe against the door jam. Presumably he got to see the at bat, but when it ended, Brett knew something was wrong. That something was a broken toe that landed Brett back on the disabled list.
Adam Eaton and His Almost Deadly DVDs
To clarify, this isn’t the Adam Eaton who plays outfield. This is the Adam Eaton who was a pitcher. Back while Eaton was with the Padres, the reliever got his hands on a sweet set of DVDs. The problem was he was overly eager to open the DVDs and get on his comfortable couch for a night of movie watching.
So he grabbed his pocket knife and made a classic mistake: he cut towards himself. The overzealous Eaton used too much power and the knife slipped on the packaging and went right into his stomach. Eaton needed two stitches to close the wound and had to miss one start but was back on the mound days later.