5 Willis McGahee – Running Back, Miami Hurricanes
Back in January of 2003, Willis McGahee found himself playing in the National Championship after leading his Miami Hurricanes to an undefeated season and the number 1 ranking in the country. Things didn’t quite go as planned though, as the Hurricanes fell to Ohio State in double overtime, and McGahee suffered one of the worst injuries you will ever see. Taking a screen pass in the fourth quarter, he was met by OSU’s Will Allen, who hit McGahee low, tearing pretty much everything in his leg (ACL, MCL, PCL).
4 Bryce Florie – Pitcher, Boston Red Sox
On September 8, 2000, the Red Sox were facing off with the rival NY Yankees, but this game wouldn’t have any big name brawls or late game heroics. This day would be remembered for two no-name players, after pitcher Bryce Florie was hit in the face with a comebacker off the bat of Yankee outfielder Ryan Thompson, fracturing his eye socket and breaking his cheekbone. And considering the average line drive moves at roughly 120 mph, it’s no wonder Florie looked like he was hit in his mug with a brick.
3 Shaun Livingston – Point Guard, Los Angeles Clippers
He’s just a role player in the league now, but Shaun Livingston was once a truly promising prospect who made the leap straight from high school to the NBA in 2004. Three years into his career though, in a February game against the Charlotte Bobcats, Livingston landed awkwardly after a layup and completely blew out his left knee. Most who saw the gruesome injury assumed he’d never play again, especially once doctors confirmed that he tore his ACL, PCL and lateral meniscus, sprained his MCL, and dislocated his patella and tibia joint. Essentially, the guy’s knee exploded.
2 Richard Zednik – Right Wing, Florida Panthers
In a 2008 game against the Buffalo Sabres, Panthers winger Richard Zednik suffered an injury that can only be called an absolute freak occurrence. When his teammate Olli Jokinen was upended on a check, Zednik was in the worst place at the worst time, getting hit directly in the throat by the razor sharp blade of Jokinen’s skate. Zednik’s external carotid artery was cut, and he bled profusely as he was rushed off the ice and immediately taken to a nearby hospital for surgery. Thankfully, Zednik survived the horrific cut, and even returned to play for the Panthers the following season.
1 Kevin Ware – Guard, Louisville Cardinals
It may be because it was the most recent, but it’s more likely that this injury lands in the number 1 spot because it was absolutely horrendous to watch. In the 2013 Elite 8 game between the Duke Blue Devils and Louisville Cardinals, reserve Cardinals guard Kevin Ware suffered one of the worst and most inexplicable injuries you will ever see. Landing awkwardly after simply attempting to block a three-point shot, Ware suffered a massive compound fracture in his right leg, which left the bone literally sticking out through his skin. And as he lay on his back on the sideline, all he said was “I’m fine, go win the game.” That man is a trooper.