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August 2, 2010 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

New Balls, Please: Sporting Disasters

Littering sports reports with metaphors of war is fairly commonplace. However, there’s no disputing the fact that actual disasters have occurred on and off the field of play. Some have been outright tragic, such as the Hillsborough Disaster of 1989; the crowd crushing close to 100 people marked the end of terraces in stadiums. Motor racing driver Alex Zanardi lost both legs and 75 per cent of his blood in a crash, before making a remarkable comeback. All Black legend Buck Shelford, in his second international test, famously played on after receiving a good rucking that left him minus four teeth and a testicle hanging out from a severe scrotum wound.

One of the most horrendous injuries of all occurred in an NHL match between the Buffalo Sabers and St Louis Blues. Steve Tuttle of the Blues crashed Uwe Krupp and went tumbling over with his leg flung into the air. Goalkeeper Clint Malarchuk’s jugular vein was sliced through by the wayward blade, leaving him with blood spurting from his neck. Incredibly, Malarchuk survived the incident.

There have also been the more preventable sporting injuries. Mike Tyson got all Dracula on Evander Holyfield at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas when he had a chew on his opponent’s ear in Round Three. The ref decided that a two-point deduction would be sufficient, which gave Tyson the opportunity to properly bite a piece off the second time. He was then disqualified.

English Cricketer Chris Lewis was dubbed ‘The Prat without a Hat’ after he shaved his head and then suffered sunstroke against the West Indies. Tabloid paper The Sun blasted that Lewis “baldly went where no other cricketer has gone before”. Footballers haven’t done themselves any favours either when it comes to self-inflicted wounds. Before his mega-bucks move to Manchester United, Rio Ferdinand strained a knee tendon after resting his leg on a coffee table for an extended period of time. In 1993, Arsenal’s Steve Morrow and Tony Adams celebrated their League Cup win a little too profusely; Adams hoisted his teammate onto his shoulders before inadvertently dropping him, leaving him with a broken arm. However, Spanish Goalkeeper Santiago Canizares takes the cake when it comes to idiot injuries. In the lead up to the 2002 World Cup, the man with the usually-safe pair of hands dropped a bottle of aftershave on his foot. The shattered glass severed a tendon in his toe, sidelining him from the tournament.


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