The Worst of Sports Tragedies

In all sports, there are great victories, great upsets, and terrible tragedies. They can range from a broken bone in football to a crash in NASCAR, but they are all sad to see. Some of the worst accidents can ruin the athletes’ careers and sometimes even their lives.

A football player, Joe Theismann, who played for the Washington Redskins, suffered a comminuted compounded fracture in his right leg. A comminuted compound fracture is a broken bone that has been shattered, splintered, or crushed and has pierced through the skin. Theismann was starting for the Redskins against the New York Giants. He broke his leg by being sacked by Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson. Because of this one play, the position left tackle, the position that is best at protecting the quarterback, has had a massive pay increase. The injury caused his right leg to not grow properly and is now permanently shorter than his left. He was forced to retire and became a football announcer.

In August of 2014, Paul George, a basketball player for the Indiana Pacers, injured his leg in a scrimmage for Team USA. He suffered a compound fracture in his right leg’s tibia and fibula. Cameras were able to capture the gruesome scene of his leg bending at a 90 degree angle. He tried to block James Harden’s shot attempt and landed on his leg awkwardly. It is questionable if he will be able to play during the 2014-15 season, but he is making strides to get back into the game.

One of the saddest races in NASCAR’s history was on February 18, 2001. In the final lap, Dale Earnhardt Sr. collided with Sterlin Martin resulting in the death of Earnhardt Sr. after he suffered blunt force trauma to the head. He was pronounced dead at 5:16 in the afternoon.  Earnhardt Sr. is considered by some to be one the best drivers in the history of NASCAR.    After the death of Earnhardt Sr., NASCAR made is mandatory for all drivers to wear a head and neck support device known as the HANS device.

Another tragedy was caused by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. The incident is referred to as the ‘Munich Massacre’ and left 11 Israeli players and coaches, 5 of the attackers, and 1 West German Police Officer dead, totaling 17 people. They took the Israeli players and coaches as hostages and demanded that 234 Palestinian prisoners to be released from Israel and German held prisons. They killed the hostages and started shooting at the police. They killed once police officer and the police killed five attackers. The remaining attackers were later hunted down and killed by the Israeli government.

Sports tragedies are the worst part of every sport, and it’s a terrible thing to watch. The tragedies change the sport entirely. They leave a gap where a great player once was and make corrections to prevent any future injuries. No one can predict when the next tragedy will happen and how severe it will be. The best we can do is prepare.