By David Heck
On Thursday, Joba Chamberlain’s comeback from Tommy John surgery took a step backwards. But it didn’t have anything to do with his arm.
The 26-year-old right-hander dislocated his right ankle while playing with his son on a trampoline, which required surgery. There is no timetable for Chamberlain to return from what Yankees GM Brian Cashman called “a significant injury.”
The odd nature of Chamberlain’s injury got us thinking how athletes from all sports tend to suffer from weird injuries. Below are 10 of the strangest.
10. Clint Barmes taken out by venison
Not much more than a journeyman-type baseball player these days, Clint Barmes did have quite a run during his rookie year for the Colorado Rockies in 2005. The infielder was hitting .329 through the first 54 games of the season and looking like a legitimate contender for the National League batting title. That came to an end when Barmes fell down a flight of stairs and broke his collarbone. Apparently, Barmes was carrying deer meat given to him by teammate Todd Helton and lost his balance. Doctors inserted a titanium plate and nine screws to help the bone heal, keeping Barmes out for three months.
9. Gus Frerotte uses his head
In 1997, quarterback Gus Frerotte was excited after rushing for a touchdown for the Washington Redskins. He was so excited that he ran to the back of the end zone and headbutted the wall in front of the stands. Though it was padded, there was a real, concrete wall behind it – something Frerotte probably failed to consider. He had to sit out the rest of the game with neck pains.
8. Adam Eaton stabs himself
Everyone knows the packaging on DVDs can be tricky. Nobody knows this better than Adam Eaton. In 2001, Eaton was using a paring knife to get to a DVD, but his hand slipped and he ended up stabbing himself in the stomach. He had to miss one scheduled start for the San Diego Padres in order to avoid any further damage to his midsection.
7. Glenn Healy lets the pipes get the best of him
A backup goalie for much of his career, Glenn Healy was known to play the bagpipes – certainly an interesting hobby for anyone, much less a professional hockey player. During his tenure with the Maple Leafs in 2000, though, Healy cut his hand while performing some maintenance on vintage bagpipes. He needed 40 stitches to close the wound.
6. Sammy Sosa, Champion Sneezer
In 2004, the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa threw out his back while sneezing. Sneezing. Really, that’s more impressive than anything else. Sosa was an epic home-run hitter, so it comes as no surprise that he was an epic sneezer as well – we live in an age of multi-talented individuals. He missed a handful of games with a strained back.
5. Santiago Canizares pays the price for smelling nice
Shaving can be a dangerous endeavor; one wrong move and you might end up with a tiny scratch on your face. Santiago Canizares, a goalie for Spain’s national soccer team in 2002, found a different hazard from the endeavor. He dropped a glass bottle of aftershave on his foot, severing a tendon as a result. He missed the entire World Cup that year.
4. Bobby Cruickshank forgets about gravity
If you ever do something impressive on a golf course, it’s probably best not to throw your club up in the air in celebration. That’s exactly what Bobby Cruickshank did at the 1934 U.S. Open, where he was leading with eight holes to play. Cruickshank muffed a shot on the 11th, sending it into a creek, but the ball bounced off a rock and miraculously landed on the putting green. He joyously tossed his club in the air, but on the way down, it hit him in the head and knocked him unconscious. Cruickshank came to and finished the tournament, but he bogeyed several of the remaining holes and tied for third.
3. Lionel Simmons risks his livelihood for Princess Peach
During his rookie year for the Sacramento Kings, Lionel Simmons developed tendinitis in his right wrist. How, you ask? Was he taking too many practice shots before and after games? Maybe he was lifting too intensely in the weight room? Nope. Simmons was playing too much Game Boy, resulting in him missing two games. No worries, Lionel – everyone who grew up in the ’90s knows that those handheld games were addictive.
2. Glenallen Hill does not like spiders
Many people are afraid of spiders. Glenallen Hill is apparently one of them. While playing for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1990, Hill had a nightmare about spiders that ended disastrously. According to different reports, he either fell out of bed and through a glass table, or bounced off the walls while sleepwalking and ran into a glass table. Either way, Hill missed several games with cuts all over his body and earned the nickname “Spiderman” for the next few years.
1. Bill Gramatica gets hit by the Karma Train
Bill and Martin Gramatica were brothers who were both place-kickers in the NFL at the same time. The other thing they had in common was that after successfully making a kick – any kick – they would jump up and down in celebration as though they had accomplished something monumental. That routine came to an end in 2001, when Bill was bopping up and down after he made a kick that put the Arizona Cardinals up 3-0 over the New York Giants in the first quarter of a regular season game. Gramatica landed awkwardly, tore his ACL and missed the rest of the season.