Breaking Bad: The freakiest sports injuries of 2016

From the gruesome to the bizarre: Larry Ryan looks at the freakiest sports injuries of 2016
Breaking Bad: The freakiest sports injuries of 2016

It wasn’t all torn hamstrings and strained ligaments occupying the physios and doctors this year. As usual, the sporting year provided its share of unusual medical woes, many suffered well away from the arena. Some were traumatic and tragic and changed lives. In other cases, even the injured will eventually see the funny side.

Dexter McCluster, San Diego Chargers

  • Injury: Fractured forearm
  • How: Moving luggage.

The running back misplaced his phone at home last month and the search required him to move what he thought were empty suitcases. Unfortunately, McCluster’s wife had packed one of the bags for a trip. “I yanked it, and I didn’t realise there was something in there. I felt a sharp pain in my wrist.” Out for the rest of the season.

Glenn Whelan (Stoke City)

  • Injury: Back strain
  • How: Getting out of his car.

The Republic of Ireland midfielder missed his first game for Stoke in a year back in April, making the arduous climb out of the driver’s seat.

“He did it, very simply, getting out of his car,” said Stoke assistant manager Mark Bowen. “He didn’t do anything untoward — he just got out of the car and felt something crack in his back. That was it.”

Matt Imhof (Philadelphia Phillies)

  • Injury: Damaged eye
  • How: Training exercise

The 22-year-old pitcher eventually had to have his eye removed and a prosthesis inserted after an horrific injury in June. Imhof was stretching his arm using a rubber resistance band anchored to a wall when the mounted base broke off and struck him in the face, breaking his nose and two orbital bones. His eye, Imhof said, was “crushed like a grape”.

Trevor Bauer (Cleveland Indians)

  • Injury: Cut finger
  • How: Flying a drone.

Missed Game 2 of the American League Championship Series and struggled through Games 3 and 4 after cutting the pinkie finger on his pitching hand with a drone.

A mechanical engineering major, Bauer explained he was working on the drone when the one of the four propellers “spun up at max throttle” and sliced his finger, requiring 10 stitches.

Paul Reiffel (Cricket umpire)

  • Injury: Concussion
  • How: Struck by a throw.

Had to leave the field during this month’s fourth test between India and England when he was struck on the back of the head by a throw from fielder Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He collapsed and was replaced but scans later showed no serious injury.

Roger Federer (Tennis player)

  • Injury: Torn knee meniscus
  • How: Running a bath for his twin daughters.

Federer underwent the first surgery of his career in January, after injuring himself at home following the Australian Open.

“I think I was going to run a bath for the girls,” Federer said. “I made a very simple movement, turned back, heard a click in my knee. I went to the zoo. My leg was swollen.”

Leif Nordgren (American biathlete)

  • Injury: Fractured toe
  • How: Treadmill accident.

Nordgren was doing intervals on a rollerski treadmill, when he stepped off to take a lactate sample.

As he did so, the treadmill was still coming down from its incline and squashed his toe against the floor. “Conveniently, the treadmill turned off at that point and it took 30-45 seconds to turn it back on and raise it back up.”

Quinton de Kock (South African cricketer)

  • Injury: Sprained knee
  • How: Walking his dogs.

The wicketkeeper missed the third Test against England after slipping while out walking his two Jack Russell terriers, twisting his knee.

Jeremy Menez (Bordeaux)

  • Injury: Severed ear
  • How: Stood on by opponent.

Bordeaux’ French forward Jeremy Menez reacts after having his ear ripped by Lorient’s Didier Ndong during a friendly in August. Picture: Getty Images
Bordeaux’ French forward Jeremy Menez reacts after having his ear ripped by Lorient’s Didier Ndong during a friendly in August. Picture: Getty Images

Following his summer move from AC Milan, Menez endured the very opposite of a dream debut for Bordeaux, lasting all of 15 minutes before Lorient’s Didier Ndong accidentally lodged his stud into the fallen Menez’s ear, ripping half it off. Emergency surgery was required.

Sandra Redknapp (Wife of Harry)

  • Injury: Broken ankle
  • How: Harry accidentally drove his car over her foot.

The former manager and current pundit dropped his wife off at the shops in the family 4X4, but pulled away while her foot was still in the vehicle. “As I went to drive off, I drove over her ankle, basically. She fell head first into the road. It has made a mess of her ankle,” Harry told The Sun.

Robin van Persie (Fenerbahce)

  • Injury: Torn eyelid
  • How: Clash with opponent.

The Dutch forward was stretchered off with blood streaming from his eye after an innocuous looking collision with a Akhisarspor opponent. Fortunately, there was no damage to van Persie’s vision, as he later clarified: “I have a little tear in my eyelid and after tests in the hospital this morning I can say that me eye itself is undamaged, so all good. These things happen in football.”

Kevin McHugh (Finn Harps)

  • Injury: Severed finger
  • How: Caught on a fence.

The Donegal man retired from football in October after losing his finger in a bloody incident while coaching kids at a soccer academy. McHugh (right) was attempting to lift a small goal over a fence when his ring caught on the fence and pulled the finger almost entirely off. McHugh managed to scoop up the severed digit and drive himself to hospital (after tweeting a gruesome picture). But doctors were unable to reattach it.

Nicolas Roche (cyclist)

  • Injury: Spider bite
  • How: A spider!

The Team Sky rider was actually bitten twice by spiders in just a few months. The first came late last year in Australia and on a Singapore stopover en route home, he fell victim again. This time, Roche’s nemesis was lurking inside the packing of a large elephant statue he bought for his mother-in-law. There was no pain, but cramps and sweats later that night alerted Roche that something was amiss. And by the time he arrived home in Monaco, the bite “had had eaten into my arm like a bullet hole”. He spent three days in hospital.

Parker Kennedy (Jesuit High School, Oregon athlete)

  • Injury: Punctured eye socket
  • How: Tripped into a javelin.

The 18-year-old javelin-thrower was warming up for a meet, throwing the javelin into the ground in front of him, when he stubbed his toe, tripping onto the back of the javelin, which entered his right eye socket beside his nose, just missing the centre of his eyeball. “If it would have gone a centimeter every which way, I could have lost my vision, or it could have done something to my brain,” Kennedy reflected, after it was confirmed he’d make a full recovery.

Brian Coniry (GAA referee)

  • Injury: Whiplash
  • How: Collision with a player.

The Cork SFC tie between Ballincollig and Clyda Rovers was just three minutes old when Coniry — from Castlehaven — collided accidentally with Clyda midfielder Fionn O’Shea. Coniry went down with a neck injury, and feeling tingling sensation in his legs, was ferried to hospital as a precaution. The game was abandoned and Coniry was later diagnosed as suffering whiplash.

Jack Carty (Connacht rugby)

  • Injury: Ruptured spleen
  • How: On a waterslide.

A spin down a waterslide in Dubai in February cost the out-half his spleen and a PRO12 final. “I kind of just nicked off the side,” Carty told TG4. “Throughout the day the pain just started getting immense and come about seven or eight o’clock in the evening, I couldn’t get out of bed; couldn’t move. That happened on the Friday and by the Monday I’d had the procedure and my spleen taken out.”

Kalli Verbecky (Weightlifter)

  • Injury: Broken pelvis
  • How: Dropped the bar.

Competing at the first ever women’s 90kg weightlifting competition at the American Open, Verbecky failed on an 80kg snatch and the bar landed on her lower back, resulting in a broken pelvis and dislocated hip.

C.B. Dollaway (UFC fighter)

  • Injury: Compressed disc
  • How: Elevator malfunction.

Dollaway had to pull out of September’s UFC 203 match with Francimar Barroso in Cleveland after a lift he was travelling in suddenly dropped two floors with the doors open. Dollaway suffered a wedged disc in his neck and a compressed disc in his lower back.

Douglas (Sporting Gijon)

  • Injury: Gluteal strain
  • How: Sleeping on the team bus.

Gijon coach Gerardo Ruiz confirmed the Barcelona loanee injured his backside sleeping awkwardly on the team coach on the trip home from Vigo, where Gijon had lost 2-1 to Celta.

Will Smith (San Francisco Giants)

  • Injury: Twisted knee
  • How: Changing for a shower.

Then with the Milwaukee Brewers, Smith injured himself in March, standing on one leg, while attempting to take off his other shoe. “I pulled hard (on the shoe) and it stayed on. My knee just went up and popped.”

Novak Djokovic (Tennis player)

  • Injury: Ankle bruising
  • How: Hitting himself.

When hammering the soles of his feet with his racket in time-honoured fashion at the Italian Open, Djokovic showed a worrying lack of accuracy and flaked himself in the ankle instead. “Instead of cleaning my shoes, I hit myself pretty hard, ankle, and actually have a bruised bone. To all the kids out there: be aware, when you’re cleaning your shoes, make sure the frame hits your shoe.” He pulled through.

Ed Slater (Leicester Tigers)

  • Injury: Cut hand
  • How: Slicing a bagel for breakfast.

Tigers boss Richard Cockerill summarised: “The moral of the story is, don’t take a really sharp knife and try and cut a frozen bagel! The knife slips off the side of it, cuts your hand and you have 14 stitches and you can’t play.”

Russell Martin (Toronto Blue Jays)

  • Injury: Knee injury
  • How: Fainting in the shower.

“I went in the sauna, stayed in for a bit too long and started feeling a bit woozy and then I went into the cold shower and stood there for a minute. Next thing you know I’m on the ground, my head’s a bit sore. I think I dropped the shower hose on my face. I woke up this morning with my knee just a bit sore.”

Kurt Maflin (Snooker player)

  • Injury: Thumb bite
  • How: A worm

Kurt afl received a bite from a worm on his thumb.
Kurt afl received a bite from a worm on his thumb.

Maflin won his semi-final at the Hangteng Autos World Open in China despite suffering from a bite on his thumb which medics diagnosed as coming from a worm. He said: “I gripped the cue in a different way today and actually played quite well.

Taylor Heinicke (Minnesota Vikings quarterback)

  • Injury: Severed tendon in his foot
  • How: Breaking into his own house.

“I was locked out of my house after a late-night movie. I came back and there’s no one home, and I’m trying to nudge the door a little. It was one of those double doors. I thought it just needed a little nudge. Me and my buddy were getting it going a little, but when I put my foot to the door, my foot kind of slipped and it went through a window.” Surgery was required.

Chris Meehan

  • Injury: Dislocated and broken ankle
  • How: Run over by an ambulance.

The Down jockey was already nursing a broken nose after a fall in Merano in Italy, when his dayy got worse. “The racecourse ambulance came up alongside us and reversed up onto my leg. They stopped it on top of my leg so I started screaming; it broke it straight away. Everyone around me had to push it off me.”

Anton Starby (ice-hockey referee)

  • Injury: Severed finger
  • How: Caught in the side-boards.

The Swedish official was reffing a preseason game between Tingsryd and Oskarshamn when he tried to avoid a collision with two players. Putting his hand on the boards to support himself, his finger got struck and when he fell to the ice, not very much of the little finger on his right hand came with him.

Cate Campbell (swimmer)

  • Injury: Damaged wrist
  • How: Sleeping.

The Australian suffered the injury ahead of the Olympic swimming trials in Adelaide in April after twice bending her wrist back awkwardly - in her sleep. “I am an aggressive napper,” Campbell said.

Albin Ekdal (Hamburg and Sweden)

  • Injury: Cut back
  • How: Falling on a nightclub table.

The midfielder almost missed Euro 2016 after suffering a deep cut on his back when falling onto a glass table at a nightclub.

Beatrice Meloche (One-month-old Montreal Canadiens fan)

  • Injury: Concussion
  • How: Hit by a puck.

When Canadiens players threw pucks to fans at the end of the team’s annual open practice, one was fumbled by three different adults, before it eventually landed on the baby’s head. Beatrice spent a night at Montreal Children’s Hospital, but was fine.

From the gruesome to the bizarre: LARRY RYAN looks at the freakiest sports injuries of 2016

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