Athletes' dumbest self-inflicted injuries

RealClearSports Staff
Yahoo! Sports

Professional athletes are at major risk every time they step out on the field. They consistently wow us with their athletic grace and ability to withstand the most brutal hits. But while it's amazing how most of them brilliantly and regularly manage to avoid injury, it's equally amazing to reflect upon the astonishingly idiotic ways some of them have managed to hurt themselves.

In light of Plaxico Burress accidentally shooting himself in the leg, one might wonder what other self-inflicted injuries preceded this one. Disturbingly enough, there is certainly no shortage of examples.

When they get a little time to relax, many athletes love playing with their toys. But sometimes, recreation can turn dangerous. Kellen Winslow Jr., Ron Gant, Jay Williams, and Ben Roethlisberger, to name a few, were all injured carelessly riding their motorcycles. A special mention though, goes to Warriors guard Monta Ellis. Ellis was injured this offseason in a "low-speed" moped accident. Is there any moped accident that's not at low speed?

That mishap, though, was perhaps less embarrassing than Marty Cordova's injury. The Baltimore Orioles outfielder burned himself so badly at a tanning salon that he had to sit out three games.

Other silly self-inflicted injuries have resulted from more day-to-day tasks. Sammy Sosa strained his back sneezing, while Brandon Inge strained a stomach muscle after trying to complete the seemingly simple act of propping a pillow behind his son's head.

And still other athletes were injured while doing what they supposedly do best – exercising. Moises Alou once fell off a treadmill and tore his ACL. The Astros' Hunter Pence was running when his route took him straight into a glass door.

When these players get injured they probably have a lot of time on their hands while recovering. What should they do to amuse themselves? Pitcher Adam Eaton might tell them to avoid watching movies. Eaton accidentally stabbed himself in the stomach while trying to open the packaging of a DVD.

Still, many of the dumbest self-inflicted injuries are nothing short of bizarre. For instance, who would guess that you can injure yourself just by yelling? Former Manchester United goalkeeper Alex Stepney learned the hard way that it's definitely possible. And sure, shredding on Guitar Hero for Playstation 2 is addictive, but most athletes wouldn't worry that the video game could lead to missing the MLB playoffs. The Detroit Tigers' Joel Zumaya proved that video games can truly be harmful, though, when he had to sit out during the 2006 ALCS due to a Guitar Hero-inflicted sore wrist.

Even the most revered Hall of Famers aren't immune to the occasional bout with stupidity. As a junior at UCLA, Lew Alcindor missed two games because of a scratched cornea suffered in a game, an injury that ended the Bruins' then-record 47-game winning streak in a loss to Houston at the Astrodome. So he was especially annoyed when, in a preseason exhibition game in his sixth pro season, he went up for a rebound and wound up with Don Nelson's finger in his eye. Furious and frustrated, Kareem slammed his fist into the basket support. The eye healed quickly, but the broken hand kept him out of the first 16 games of the regular season.

At times, these injuries are infamous enough to inspire a nickname, such as in the case of Glenallen "Spiderman" Hill. The outfielder – who has coincidentally played for eight different teams – got his nickname from an incident spurred on by his apparently severe arachnophobia. Early in his career, while with the Blue Jays, Hill was having a violent nightmare about spiders. While still asleep, he tried to escape from the phantom spiders and fell into a glass table. This nightmare gave Hill cuts on his toes and elbows, carpet burns on his knees, landed him on the 15-day DL and bestowed upon him his nickname.

But still, as preventable as these injuries are, is there really any question what the dumbest self-inflicted injury is?

Plaxico Burress, good luck in court.

The first five:

1. Plaxico Burress: Slideshow
2. Bill Gramatica: Slideshow
3. Joel Zumaya: Slideshow
4. Glenallen Hill: Slideshow
5. Alex Stepney: Slideshow
See more injuries

Athletes' dumbest self-inflicted injuries

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