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Sport's Most Painful Moments

"No pain, no gain", goes the age-old saying. But how much pain can one actually endure while climbing his way to the top? It's true that oftentimes, players will fake injuries in hopes of getting the referee to foul their opponents. However, sports fans will also attest to seeing some real, gruesome, chilling, and cringe-worthy injuries with major and severe repercussions on the player, including massive surgery, forced retirement, or even lifelong paralysis. For those of you who are not of the faint of heart, we've compiled a list of the most painful injuries to ever happen in sports.

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The "Boban" Tragedy

Serbian basketball player Slobodan "Boban" Iankovic played in the Greek basketball league in the early nineties. During the Greek league playoff game between his team, Panionios, and Panathinaikos, the referee fouled Jankovic for the fifth time, putting an end to his participation in the game. Jankovic responded by slamming his head hard against the goal post in anger and frustration, causing permanent damage to his spinal cord. This nearly fatal injury cost him the use of his legs, and he was paralyzed for the rest of his life.
Taringa / Via taringa.net

Serbian basketball player Slobodan "Boban" Iankovic played in the Greek basketball league in the early nineties. During the Greek league playoff game between his team, Panionios, and Panathinaikos, the referee fouled Jankovic for the fifth time, putting an end to his participation in the game. Jankovic responded by slamming his head hard against the goal post in anger and frustration, causing permanent damage to his spinal cord. This nearly fatal injury cost him the use of his legs, and he was paralyzed for the rest of his life.

Stray Javelin Hits Sdiri In the Head

French long jumper Salim Sdiri did not see it coming. Literally. While warming up for the IAAF Golden League at Rome's Olimpico Stadium, he was hit straight in the head by a stray javelin, thrown by Finnish athlete Tero Pitkamaki. Pitkamaki was participating at the time in the javelin throw competition, which was held close to the jumpers' warm up area. Too close, it seems. Sdiri was rushed to the hospital where it was concluded that the javelin punctured his right kidney and drove a hole in his liver. Luckily, he was able to compete again after several months of rehabilitation.
IAAF / Via iaaf.org

French long jumper Salim Sdiri did not see it coming. Literally. While warming up for the IAAF Golden League at Rome's Olimpico Stadium, he was hit straight in the head by a stray javelin, thrown by Finnish athlete Tero Pitkamaki. Pitkamaki was participating at the time in the javelin throw competition, which was held close to the jumpers' warm up area. Too close, it seems. Sdiri was rushed to the hospital where it was concluded that the javelin punctured his right kidney and drove a hole in his liver. Luckily, he was able to compete again after several months of rehabilitation.

Shaun Livingston's Knee Snap

American basketball player Shaun Livingston had the potential of becoming an NBA star. He was so highly regarded that he entered the league fresh out of high school and was selected in the first round of the 2004 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. Throughout his career, Livingston suffered many injuries. But snapping his knee laterally mid-game while playing against the Charlotte Bobcats in 2007 is without a question his most infamous and gruesome one yet. So gruesome, in fact, that ESPN warned viewers of the graphic nature of the video before airing it. Luckily, the medical staff at the hospital were able to treat his knee, which was injured almost entirely. Months of rehabilitation and recuperating were necessary, and when they were over, Livingston resumed his career and signed with the Miami Heat.
NBA / Via nba.com

American basketball player Shaun Livingston had the potential of becoming an NBA star. He was so highly regarded that he entered the league fresh out of high school and was selected in the first round of the 2004 NBA draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. Throughout his career, Livingston suffered many injuries. But snapping his knee laterally mid-game while playing against the Charlotte Bobcats in 2007 is without a question his most infamous and gruesome one yet. So gruesome, in fact, that ESPN warned viewers of the graphic nature of the video before airing it. Luckily, the medical staff at the hospital were able to treat his knee, which was injured almost entirely. Months of rehabilitation and recuperating were necessary, and when they were over, Livingston resumed his career and signed with the Miami Heat.

The 'Bite Fight"

The notorious "Bite Fight" match between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield is another notorious and painful sport moment that really makes you want to cringe. Tyson came to the 1997 match against Holyfield with the full intention of holding on to his WBA championship win. Holyfield, albeit being the underdog, surprisingly dominated the beginning of the match. After winning the first two rounds, Tyson was clearly losing and getting frustrated. In the midst of the third round, he bit Holyfield's ear in anger, tearing a one-inch cartlage from the top of the ear and then resuming to spit it out on the ring floor. The fight was resumed after the ring doctor determined that Holyfield was able to continue despite the massive bite. Only after biting Holyfield's ear for the second time was Tyson disqualified and the fighting stopped entirely.
MarginalRevolution / Via marginalrevolution.com

The notorious "Bite Fight" match between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield is another notorious and painful sport moment that really makes you want to cringe. Tyson came to the 1997 match against Holyfield with the full intention of holding on to his WBA championship win. Holyfield, albeit being the underdog, surprisingly dominated the beginning of the match. After winning the first two rounds, Tyson was clearly losing and getting frustrated. In the midst of the third round, he bit Holyfield's ear in anger, tearing a one-inch cartlage from the top of the ear and then resuming to spit it out on the ring floor. The fight was resumed after the ring doctor determined that Holyfield was able to continue despite the massive bite. Only after biting Holyfield's ear for the second time was Tyson disqualified and the fighting stopped entirely.

Alex Morgan Knees Jenny Bindon

Imgur / Via imgur.com

Apparently, women’s soccer isn't exempt from painful moments either. At USA's London Olympic game against New Zealand, goalie Jenny Bindon found herself face to face with USA star Alex Morgan's knee. She was actually knocked unconscious for a few seconds before she got up and continued playing!

Paul George's Infamous Leg Injury

imgur.com / Via Imgur

American basketball player and NBA all-star Paul George suffered a painful leg injury while preparing for the 2014 FIBA World Cup. During the final quarter of a practice session between the Indiana Pacers and the Houston Rockets, George went up to defend a shot from Houston's James Harden and landed awkwardly on his right leg, snapping it in half. After having surgery and a pin inserted in his leg, George worked hard to participate in the 2014-2015 season and made his return to the Pacers line-up on April 5th, playing against Miami Heat and contributing greatly to the Pacers' victory that night. He also helped score points for his team during the last final six games of the season, proving to everyone that motivation and self-discipline is what truly differentiates the losers from the winners.

World Cup 2014 Bite

Imgur / Via imgur.com

The 2014 World Cup is full of controversies, but this run-in is definitely at the top of the list. During the critical Group D match between Uruguay and Italy, striker Luis Suarez bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on his shoulder. The referee didn't notice and refused to foul Suarez, despite Chiellini showing him the actual bite marks on his shoulder. Uruguay went on to win the match and Italy lost its chance to compete in the World cup finals. This actually wasn't the first time Suarez "bit" his way to victory. Apparently, he has a rather impressive history at biting his opponents without being detected by the referees. In 2010, while playing for Ajax, Suarez bit PSV Eindhoven attacker Otman Bakkal, and in 2013 Suarez bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic while playing for Liverpool. Both times, the referees failed to notice the attacks.

Lebron James's Nose Injury

NBA star Lebron James collided into Houston center Dikembe Mutombo while playing for the Cavaliers against the Rockets in 2004. The collision resulted in a broken cheekbone, courtesy of Mutombo's elbow. Luckily, a CT scan revealed that there was no need for any operation but the NBA star did wear a protective mask on his face during the following games until his fracture fully healed. Turns out that Mutombo's elbow has done a lot of damage over the years to different players, causing an abundance of broken bones, stitched foreheads and lips, and other painful injuries. Ironically, outside of the court, this now retired NBA player is most famous for his humanitarian work!
Beta.thescore / Via beta.thescore.com

NBA star Lebron James collided into Houston center Dikembe Mutombo while playing for the Cavaliers against the Rockets in 2004. The collision resulted in a broken cheekbone, courtesy of Mutombo's elbow. Luckily, a CT scan revealed that there was no need for any operation but the NBA star did wear a protective mask on his face during the following games until his fracture fully healed.

Turns out that Mutombo's elbow has done a lot of damage over the years to different players, causing an abundance of broken bones, stitched foreheads and lips, and other painful injuries. Ironically, outside of the court, this now retired NBA player is most famous for his humanitarian work!

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