Stupid Athlete Off-field Injuries

sakic2 300x223Joe Sakic, captain of the Colorado Avalanche, is the latest to join the list of stupid athlete off the field injuries that have cost playing time for big stars. Sakic, who was already on the disabled list for a herniated disc, broke three fingers in a snow blower accident at his home and will now be out at least three months. The Avalanche announced Sakic had surgery Tuesday night for the broken fingers and tendon damage.

So of course this got us thinking about some of the other stupid non-sports related injuries that have plagued star players this decade, so yeah we put a list together. The rankings are determined by a combination of the stupidity / humor involved in the injury, and the players relative stardom. Similar injuries and incidents are grouped together:

10. Motorcycle Accident : Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers : 2006

ben roethlisberger crash picture 300x229Several athletes have done this in recent years. The only reason this one ranks #10 is because of the serious nature of it. Injuring yourself on a motorcycle is just not nearly as funny as a sneezing injury. Big Ben is a good example of this, as he nearly killed himself in 2006 while riding a Suzuki Hayabusa. The stupidest part of this accident is that Roethlisberger was not wearing a helmet. Other players to suffer a similar fate in recent years include Jay Williams, Kellen Winslow Jr., and Lavar Arrington. Just recently Monta Ellis was in a similar incident on a moped.

joelstillrockin 300x225

9 . Guitar Hero Injury : Joel Zumaya, Detroit Tigers – 2006

In 2006, Zumaya missed some time because of a sore forearm caused by what doctors said was too much time playing video games. A year later, Zumaya said Guitar Hero wasn’t the culprit, telling The Detroit News, “A lot of people have criticized me and told me, ‘Joel, put it away.’ But I’m still going to play it. Just not as often.”

8. Ax Accident : Chris Hanson, Jacksonville Jaguars – 2003
hansonAs a member of the Jags, Hanson missed a significant portion of the 2003 season when he injured his non-kicking foot in a wood chopping accident. Coach Jack Del Rio had placed an axe and wooden stump in the team locker room and told his players to “keep chopping wood” in some bizarre motivational tool. Hanson injured himself when he attempted to chop said wood. Several other players have suffered similar injuries in relation to sharp objects. Typically this is a knife, as happened recently with Derrick Rose, however I don’t think any of those guys can beat Chris Hanson the Ax Man.

7. Golf Cart Accident : Erik Johnson, St. Louis Blues – 2008

frozen inside061607 75x752006 Number one NFL draft pick for the St. Louis Blues, got his foot caught between the accelerator and the brake on a golf cart during a team outing resulting in a tear to the the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in the knee that will require an operation to fix. He will miss the entire 2008-09 season. NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson suffered a similar fate in 2006.

6. Anal Fissures : Kaz Matsui, Houston Astros – 2008

matsuiWe’ll let Bleacher Report fill in the details here :

Prior to Opening Day 2008, Houston Astros second baseman Kazuo “Kaz” Matsui underwent surgery to repair anal fissure and he missed the first three weeks of the baseball season on the disabled list. Anal fissure is medically defined as an unnatural crack or tear in the anus skin. As a fissure, these tiny tears may show bright red rectal bleeding and cause severe periodic pain after defecation. The grand majority of anal fissures are caused by stretching of the anal mucosa beyond its capability.

Some of the various causes of this fissure include:

  • Straining to defecate
  • Severe and chronic constipation or diarrhea
  • Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis
  • Tight sphincter muscles
  • Anal intercourse

So while you may argue that this really isn’t a stupid injury, we don’t really know the cause in this case, and it is certainly the most embarrassing thing I have ever seen on an injury report.

5. Falling down Steps : Brian Griese, Denver Broncos – 2002
a griese iThe Michigan Daily explains :

If you ever get drunk and hurt yourself, don’t bother asking Brian Griese for advice on drafting a story to explain it. The former Michigan and current Denver Bronco quarterback is obviously out of ideas. This week he claimed that his random ankle injury was caused by his dog, a golden retriever named Bella.

“I was walking down the stairs and my dog came barreling down the stairs after me and clipped me, and I kind of twisted my ankle on the stairs,” Griese told reporters at his weekly press conference. “These things happen. Unfortunately, it happened to me.”

Clint Barmes of the Colorado Rockies suffered a similar fate in 2005 (via ESPN):

Colorado Rockies rookie shortstop Clint Barmes says he was lugging a package of deer meat he got from teammate Todd Helton, and not a bag of groceries, when he fell and broke his collarbone.

“I just didn’t think it was right to bring Todd Helton into something like this,” Barmes was quoted as saying in The Denver Post on Thursday, explaining why he gave a different version of the story when he first recounted the strange fall that will sideline him for at least three months.

4. Washing Truck : Jeff Kent, San Francisco Giant – 2002

While many have speculated that Kent was actually riding a Motorcycle, he still maintains his story that he was injured while washing his truck. ESPN explains:

kent jeffSan Francisco Giants second baseman Jeff Kent broke a bone in his left wrist while washing his truck and will miss 4-to-6 weeks. Kent, the 2000 NL MVP, revealed the injury to Giants trainer Stan Conte on Saturday morning after swelling and soreness set in overnight. Kent, who owns a white pick up with 4-inch lifts, was at a self-serve car wash in Scottsdale when he hurt himself Friday evening. He slipped and broke the vancular bone when he tried to break his fall.

“I was straddling the back of my truck when I slipped and fell,” said Kent. “I didn’t think much of it at the time and finished washing my truck. It started swelling up during the night and got really sore.” Kent, who had X-rays done on the wrist, might return to San Francisco for further tests, which could reveal ligament damage. He will be put in a cast for the next month. “The fracture is at the end of the bone, so we really caught a break,” Conte said. “He was pretty depressed when he came in this morning. I guarantee you he’ll never wash his car again as long as he’s a Giant.

3. Sun Burn : Marty Cordova, Baltimore Orioles : 2002

cordova 238x300Former Rookie of the year, and MLB Journeyman outfielder has the distinction of a completely unique injury, Sun Burn. Apparently Marty fell asleep in a tanning bed, and when he woke up he was completely burned. The injury report on CNNSI read :

Cordova is day-to-day after burning his face in a tanning bed earlier this week. Under doctor’s orders, the Orioles’ outfielder has been told to stay out of the sun for a few days. He should return by this weekend.

2. Sneezing Back Spasms : Sammy Sosa, Chicago Cubs – 2004

ESPN explains this ridiculous injury by a major star:


Sammy Sosa felt a bit sheepish while explaining why he wasn’t able to play Sunday against the Padres. Sosa sneezed twice shortly after arriving in the clubhouse before the game, which brought on back spasms and forced him to grab a chair to support himself. While his Cubs teammates were out beating the Padres 4-2 for a three-game sweep, Sosa spent the afternoon in the trainer’s room receiving treatment.

“It would have been better if I had hit off the wall or we have a fight or something, but this … you know what I mean?” Sosa said. “What can you do? Some things in life you cannot control. This is strange that it happened. I don’t feel too good,” Sosa said. “If I’m ready, I’m going to play. If I’m not ready, I’m not going to play. Whenever I feel 100 percent, I’ll be back. Something you never expect to happen, happens. We’re only human. The only thing you can do is just sit back and relax and wait. You’re talking about the back.”

1. Self Inflicted Gunshot Wound : Plaxico Burress, New York Giants – 2008

Maybe it is just because this is still fresh in my mind, or maybe it is because the dude totally shot himself in the leg, but Plax has to be #1. I am sure you have heard the story. We’ll let Deadspin tell it:

plaxico 270x300So a few more details seem to be emerging about the bizarre “Plaxico shot himself at a club” story. The New York Post is now reporting that the incident took place just after midnight on Friday at a club called Latin Quarter in Manhattan, while Plax was out on the town with teammate Antonio Pierce. I suggest you read the rest of the story with the Benny Hill theme playing in the background:

• Burress and Pierce were apparently approached by security guards looking for weapons. Burress admitted to having one, and moved to a secluded area near the club’s VIP entrance to unload it.

• Burress then violated gun safety rule number…(checks rules)…one, by unloading the gun with one hand while drinking a glass of wine with t’other. It was at this point that he bobbled the gun and it accidentally fired. Somewhat luckily, it seems, it only ended up hitting him in the leg.

• Pierce apparently dropped Plax off at the hospital at 2:00 a.m., and then immediately got the hell out of there. As the Post also points out, what was Plax doing in the intervening two hours between shooting himself and getting dropped off at the hospital? Trying to walk it off?

The only thing left to wonder, is why did Plax shoot himself?

The fine folks over at Cuzoogle have a more exhaustive list which goes back further in history. They call it The Dumbest Injuries in Sports.