Joe Theismann is a household name for literally the only reason a professional sports player does not want to be a household name — a disgusting and career ending injury. Thirty years ago today, hallowed defenseman Lawrence Taylor sacked Theismann and destroyed his leg. If you’ve never seen it 1) How? and 2) Here. Beyond ending Theismann’s quarterback career (and putting to rest any aspirations he ever had of pursuing a post-NFL soccer career), the Theismann injury changed the way that offensive lines protect the quarterback, leading to many of the rules and strategies seen in professional play today.
Since it is the anniversary of this game-defining injury, what better time to peek behind the curtain of some of the worst sports injuries of all time? Check them out below. Warning, this article is accurately titled, so try and hold down your lunch.
Navorro Bowman Tears ACL – MCL
Bowman suffered an absolutely disgusting knee injury in the 2014 NFC Championship game against Seattle. Despite the brutality of it, Bowman did undergo surgeries to repair the damage and is expected to eventually return to the field.
Tim Hudson’s Broken Ankle
Most baseball injuries occur when two players collide in the outfield or a pitcher forgets to duck and instead takes a line drive straight into his face. However, one of the most painful looking ones happened when Atlanta Braves’ pitcher Tim Hudson went to cover an out on first base and Mets batter Eric Young Jr. tried to beat him to the bag.
Kevin Ware’s Broken Leg
I don’t think anyone in the world will ever fully get over Kevin Ware’s horrid injury during the Louisville v. Duke game. Even if you don’t want to see the actual injury (which, come on, you gotta look at least once) just seeing the reaction from players and coaches alike pretty much sums up the entire shebang for you.
Clint Malarchuk’s Lacerated Throat
After two players collided in front of the net, goalie Malarchuk caught a skate in the jugular. Malarchuk was somehow able to get himself off the ice, but he was close to bleeding out within just two minutes of the injury. If the injury had been just 1/8 of an inch wider, he would have died on the spot. This injury is why goalies now all wear neck protection.
Willis McGahee – Torn ACL/MCL/PCL
In what was meant to be his final game before being drafted into the NFL, University of Miami’s Willis McGahee took a hit in the knees with 12 minutes left in the 2002 Fiesta Bowl. After his knee folded like a beach chair, he tore literally every major ligament in his knees.
Steve Moore’s Broken Back and Head
In a very tense and heated game between the Canucks and Avalanche, things came to a head after Canucks player Todd Bertuzzi suckerpunched Steve Moore of the Avalanche, knocking him unconscious before driving him bodily into the ice head first. Moore broke vertebrae in his neck and suffered serious head trauma. The Avalanche and NFL eventually succeeded in pressing assault charges against Bertuzzi, effectively ending his career.
Terrell Davis Goes Blind
In Super Bowl XXXII, Broncos running back Terrell Davis was set to have an amazing game. However, before he hit the field, he had forgotten to take his migraine medication. So when Davis took a hit to the head, he literally went blind. While shocking, what is more shocking is that Davis eventually retook the field and won MVP.
Anthony Van Loo Dies on the Field
While not an injury in the traditional sense of the list thus far, soccer player Anthony Van Loo suffers cardiac arrest on the field. Living with a pre-existing heart condition, Van Loo wasn’t even supposed to be playing sports. However, he was fitted with a pacemaker earlier in life, which somehow broke during the game.
Marcus Lattimore’s Dislocated Knee
The junior at South Carolina in 2012, Marcus Lattimore was tackled by two defensemen from Tennessee in a hit that fully dislocated his entire knee. Luckily, Lattimore was able to recover and now plays in the NFL.
Sid Vicious’s Broken Leg
When professional wrestler Sid Vicious went for the spear kick, he ended up with a compound fracture instead. While wrestling may be fake, this injury was not scripted.
Patrick Edwards’s Broken Leg
During a 2008 game against Marshall, the University of Houston wide receiver caught a ball in the endzone before slamming shins first into a cart that had been left there. An injury of negligence, this injury could easily have been avoided if the cart had been moved.
David Busst’s Leg Shatter
An injury that is freak in it’s inability to be explained, soccer player David Busst attempted to slide tackle and instead compounded his leg into a balloon of blood and muscle that literally burst upon impact.
Allan Ray’s Eye Falls Out
During a game against University of Pittsburgh in the 2006 Big East Tournament, Villanova player Allan Ray got his eye poked out while going for a loose ball. Despite the gruesome nature of the injury, Ray regained the vision in his right eye and, after only a week, was back on the court.
Anderson Silva’s Broken Leg
In a sport that is built on broken bones and knockouts, there is still a line for how brutal an injury can get before people have to look away. Which is why it hurts to watch Anderson Silva to snap his leg against this opponent’s shin.