The Dumbest Sports Injuries of the 21st Century
Professional athletes have been injuring themselves in bizarre, head-scratching ways for as long as they’ve been abusing their bodies and throwing games. But some of these recent ones really stand out for their exceptional stupidity.
Baseball players seem to be particularly prone to hurting themselves in increasingly embarrassing fashion. Spring Training 2013 had three Major Leaguers land on the All-Time dumbest sports injuries list. The first to be honored was Tampa Bay Rays reliever Joel Peralta who made headlines with a sandwich-related injury in February. The 36-year-old Peralta has had a respectable run of big league success over the past three seasons but he’s failed to master the art of exiting his Camaro. Peralta suffered a neck injury getting out of his car after he stopped at a fast food chain.
Luckily for Peralta his injury wasn’t even the dumbest of Spring Training. Rangers’ shortstop Elvin Andrus missed a Spring Training game in late February due to biceps soreness; which seems like a perfectly reasonable excuse until you realize that the soreness came from a particularly grueling tattoo session. Andrus honored his late father by having his dad’s likeness tattooed to his right arm. I’d love to see some video of Texas manager Ol’ “Uncle Ron” Washington getting the news that his shortstop couldn’t play due to his new tattoo.
Not wanting to be outdone, A’s outfielder Michael Taylor cut his throwing hand in two places as he attempted to toss a wad of chewed bubble gum into a dugout trashcan. The 27-year-old Taylor, who was fighting for a roster spot, missed a week of action and sealed his fate for a return trip to AAA. Taylor, a Stanford graduate, may be remembered more for his dumb injury than any on field exploits.
Taylor, Andrus, and Peralta join a long procession of Major Leaguers into the bizarre injury hall of fame. Baseball’s long season and 162 game schedule seems to give seamheads an unfair advantage in acquiring dumb injuries. Although not a 21st century injury, and thus excluded from contending here, honorable mentiongoes to Former Blue Jays outfielder Glenallen Hill, who once suffered cuts to his toes and elbows as he attempted to escape an attack from imaginary spiders during a nightmare. Hill may be the owner of one of the longest home runs in Wrigley Field history but he’ll forever be remembered more for his personal sequel to Arachnophobia.
Joel Zumaya, once a flame-throwing reliever for the Detroit Tigers, saw his promising career delayed due to an off-field vice. It wasn’t drugs, gambling or women that led to Zumaya’s injury but rather his obsession with the video game Guitar Hero. Zumaya never again repeated the success of his rookie year of 2006 and last pitched in the Majors in 2010. The bright side of Zumaya’s early retirement is that he’s had plenty of time to master the intricate guitar work of Foghat’s “Slow Ride.”
Perhaps the dumbest baseball injury of all belongs to former Baltimore Orioles outfielder Marty Cordova who suffered severe burns to his face after falling asleep in a tanning bed. Cordova, who was a regrettable free agent signing for the O’s, missed a game as he was instructed to stay out of direct sunlight, you know the kind of sunlight that causes tanning.
Bill Gramatica, former Arizona Cardinals kicker, is the not-so-proud owner of the dumbest injury for a non-baseball player. Gramatica partied like it was 1999 after he kicked a field goal in December of 2001. The lowly Cardinals were apparently so unaccustomed to holding a lead, even a 3-0 first quarter lead, that Gramatica reacted as if he had landed a game winning kick in the Super Bowl. Gramatica’s wild celebration resulted in a torn ACL which he readily laughs about. He’s not the only one.
Amar’e Stoudemire is the only NBA player on this exclusive list. The forward became frustrated with his role in the offense after the Knicks fell into a 0-2 hole to the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA playoffs. Stoudemire did what any reasonable professional would do in a similar circumstance; he punched a fire extinguisher. Let’s hope Amar’e finds a better way to cool down the Heat next time.
Dan Soderberg is a freelance writer and blogger. Dan enjoys most all breakfast meats, monkeys in people clothes, bitching about NFL officiating and damn near anything involving Will Ferrell. Dan hates bandwagon fans, rain outs and yellow mustard (spicy mustard is the only choice). Check out Dan’s take on sports, fatherhood, and bacon at Dad’s Timeout. Follow Dan on Twitter @dadstimeout.