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4. Bo Jackson
Jackson has made sports news recently by stating that he would never have played football after learning what he now knows about head injuries. As the only player to ever be an All-Star in both football and baseball this is easy to say, he could have just played baseball for his whole career and still been a huge success. He wouldn’t retire early because of brain injuries, but another devastating injury that happened on the football field. In a playoff victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in 1991, Jackson would suffer a dislocated hip following a tackle while playing for the Raiders. Jackson claims that he popped the hip back into its socket after realizing what he had done. While doctors didn’t find any evidence to corroborate his story they did conclude that he had indeed fractured one of his hip bones. The injury would cause the otherworldly athlete to immediately retire from football and after a season with the Chicago White Sox to retire from baseball as well. It seems that anyone who saw Jackson play any sport considers him to be one of the best athletes ever to walk the earth making his terrible injury, which occurred before his 30th birthday one of the most devastating in the history of modern sports.
3. Maurice Stokes
You may not have heard of Maurice Stokes, he’s not very well known today, which is very sad because he was once one of the most promising and gifted basketball players in the game. Stokes was a three-time All-Star in his first three seasons before the 1958 campaign. On March 12 his Cincinnati Royals were playing the final game of the season when he struck his head on the floor after a drive to the basket. Though he returned to the game and even played in the team’s first playoff game, the injury would result in Stokes suffering a seizure that left him permanently paralyzed. He would be supported and cared for by his friend and teammate Jack Twyman, but he would tragically die on April 6, 1970, of a heart attack at the age of 36. You could compare Stokes to a taller version of Russell Westbrook in today’s game as he was a six foot seven-inch triple double machine. He averaged over sixteen points, seventeen rebounds and had the second most assists behind only Bob Cousy over the first three years of his career.
2. Gale Sayers
People today remember Walter Payton or “Sweetness” as the best running back ever to play for the Chicago Bears. Speaking strictly based on numbers this is impossible to argue as Payton had a stellar career, running for almost seventeen thousand yards and 110 touchdowns during his illustrious thirteen years with the team. He also became beloved amongst the Chicago faithful for his soft-spoken personality and genuine good nature. While Payton died way too young in 1999, a Bears running back that came before him had an incredibly promising career that ended far too soon. Gale Sayers was the Chicago Bears first pick in 1965 and played seven incredible years. He won the rookie of the year award while rushing for twenty-two touchdowns, the most by a rookie ever. He also made the Pro Bowl team four times and would average five yards every time he carried the ball throughout his career. Several brutal knee injuries caused the great running back to retire after his seventh season. While his career numbers don’t stack up with Walter Payton’s because of his early retirement, he is remembered as being unequaled in sheer talent and ability.
1. Maureen Connolly
Affectionately known as “Little Mo” her on the court dominance was anything but small. In 1953 Connolly became the first woman to win all four Grand Slam tournaments during the same calendar year. Unlike most other athletes on the list, her injury came well away from competition and had nothing to do with the game she played. The year after she won her grand slam and just two weeks after winning her third straight Wimbledon title she was horseback riding. Her horse became frightened by a truck and threw her between itself and the vehicle. Connolly suffered a compound fracture in her right fibula, ultimately ending her promising, already dominant career at the age of 19. She was selected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame the same year she died, 1969 and won the last nine Grand Slam singles tournaments she played in, including fifty consecutive singles matches.
Title | 10 Most DEVASTATING Injuries in Sports History