Joba Chamberlain suffers just the latest of costly off-field athlete injuries

Daniel Bukszpan

If you're a professional athlete, injuries are almost guaranteed. Whether it's a repetitive stress injury from tennis, a torn ACL from football or something more brutal like a hockey stick to the face, sports injuries are simply a part of life for the professional athlete.

In a twist, the New Orleans Saints were sanctioned by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on March 21 for a bounty program that paid players to injure specific members of opposing teams. The penalties included a one-year suspension for head coach Sean Payton.

Those who spend their hours on the field may court blunt force trauma, but that doesn't mean they can't injure themselves off the field as well. Yes, even professional athletes suffer the same stubbed toes, paper cuts and tumbles down the stairs as the rest of us, and sometimes he or she suffers off-field injuries so bizarre that they become noteworthy. Just this week New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain underwent surgery after dislocating his ankle while playing with his son on or around a trampoline.

One example: During his 12 years with the Chicago Cubs, right fielder Sammy Sosa was a virtual stranger to the disabled list, visiting it only four times. It was his final injury in a Cubs uniform that was the most bizarre.

In 2004, "Slammin' Sammy" was speaking to reporters in the locker room before a game in San Diego. He sneezed twice, and they were so powerful that they caused spasms and a sprained ligament in his lower back, sidelining him for a full month.

What follows is a list of professional athletes whose boo-boos came while they were off-duty. In some cases, the injuries cost the teams the athlete's services, and in other cases they simply cost the athlete his dignity. Read ahead and see which athletes had the costliest encounters with inanimate objects when they were supposed to be safe and sound.