Being a sportsperson brings a lot of good things with it – fitness, prestige, self-worth, perhaps even fame and fortune. However, despite the vast array of goods out there designed to keep sporting pros safe on the field, sports does also carry a relatively high risk of injury. Here are a few of the most shocking sports injuries ever to have occurred:
The Death (And Resurrection) Of Anthony Van Loo
Belgian footballer Anthony Van Loo was diagnosed with a heart condition in around June 2008. This would be enough to retire most players for life, but Van Loo was instead fitted with a defibrillator. This ingenious little device was implanted into his chest, and was theoretically supposed to restart his heart if it randomly gave up. Belgian football fans got to see this in action when his heart stopped in the middle of a game. Despite being (pretty much) dead, the defibrillator shocked his heart back into beating within a few seconds, allowing Van Loo to be stretchered off not only alive, but conscious. Van Loo is still playing today.
Jeremy Lane’s Right-Angled Arm
One of the major things which draws Americans towards professional sports (as well, of course, as the money, the prestige, and the adulation of the American public) is the great healthcare and insurance deals which teams provide for their members. American footballer Jeremy Lane was certainly glad of his team’s (the Seattle Seahawks) health insurance package when he managed to snap his arm in an exceptionally gruesome manner during this year’s Superbowl. Trying to make a pass in a game against the New England Patriots, he fell heavily, flung out his arm to brace himself, and managed to bend it in two. The moment at which his arm broke was photographed to horrify the squeamish worldwide. His team have since announced that the damage to his arm is ‘significant’, and he is believed to have broken both the bones in his wrist, as well as potentially having a compound fracture in his forearm.
Wayne Shelford’s Savaged Scrotum
The New Zealand All Blacks are famed for being a force to be reckoned with in the rugby world, but few of them have proven this reputation quite as well as player Wayne Shelford did back in 1986. In a match against the French so intense that they named it ‘The Battle of Nantes’, Shelford ended up at the base of a ruck, where his scrotum was torn open by the boot of a French player. Shelford (I’d stop reading here, boys) left the ruck with one testicle hanging out of the skin. Many men would feel faint just reading that, but Shelford responded by getting the physio to stitch his balls back in, and returned to the field. He played on until he received a head-blow, and was concussed. The All Blacks lost the game, but it hardly seemed to matter in the light of Shelford’s incredible fortitude. Shelford, however, claims to have no memory at all of the game.
Shaun Livingstone’s Impressively Smashed Knee
Knee injuries are not uncommon in basketball, but Los Angeles Clippers player Shaun Livingstone raised the bar to unconquerable heights. In February 2007, Livingstone’s left leg buckled beneath him, literally snapping his knee. The method of injury itself was nothing special – what made doctors around the world sit up in awe was the fact that he somehow managed to simultaneously break practically every single part of his knee. Tendons, bones, ligaments – all were either torn, smashed, or dislocated. Medically speaking, an incredibly impressive feat.
Jessica Dube’s Slashed Face
The bottoms of ice skates are called ‘blades’ for a reason. They’re extremely sharp, and must be wielded carefully – particularly around faces. Canadian ice skaters Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison found this out in February 2006, when a move went badly wrong and Davison’s skate – estimated to be going at 40mph at the time – sliced open Dube’s face. Blood immediately started pouring from the wound, and Dube was rushed to hospital, where she required 80 stitches to close the deep, deep wound in layers. Dube took it all in her stride, and was skating again in just over a week. However, both partners undertook post-traumatic stress counselling before Davison could forgive himself for the incident. They continue to skate together.
“Anthony-van-loo-1344796852” by vzw Malinwa – wikiportret.nl. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
“Jeremy Lane at CLink pregame” by Mike Morgan – http://www.flickr.com/photos/23471940@N02/11872357495/in/set-72157639631364295. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
“Skate Canada 2008 Jessica Dubé Bryce Davison Podium” by David W. Carmichael – http://davecskatingphoto.com. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.