San Diego Padres pitcher Mat Latos recently had to go on the disabled list for a sneezing-related injury. He tried to stifle the sneeze, but his finely-tuned athlete body couldn't handle the pressure and he pulled a muscle.
Is this the most humiliating athlete injury of all-time? Not even close.
Here are the Top 20.
#1 — Lionel Simmons
In 1991 Sacramento Kings rookie forward Lionel Simmons missed two games due to tendonitis in his right wrist and forearm from playing too much GameBoy. As humiliating as the injury was, Simmons' ability to get to Level 25 on Tetris remains the biggest accomplishment in Sacramento Kings history.
Fun Fact: There's a very good chance the guy in this original GameBoy commercial is former NBA scrub Rex Walters.
#2 — Steve Sparks
During Spring Training in 1994 the Milwaukee Brewers received a visit from an inspirational team of strongmen. After the group left, journeyman knuckleballer Steve Sparks tried to replicate their stunts by ripping a phone book in half. Big surprise: he dislocated his shoulder and failed to make his first big-league roster. Tough break for a knuckleballer, and this incident is why to this day Tim Wakefield won’t rip anything larger than a copy of Mike Lowell’s memoirDeep Drive: A Long Journey to Finding the Champion Within.
Note: the following video may be not be suitable for Major League Baseball players …
#3 — Wade Boggs
Wade Boggs is a man of many appetites. He loves chicken, ill-fated rides atop police horses, and dressing like a cowboy. That third love caught up to him during his career, though. Boggs once missed a seven-game stretch after straining his back while pulling on his cowboy boots. Most baseball historians feel this injury was karmic payback for taking the wrong side in the legendary Lord Palmerston/Pitt the Elder debate of 1992.
#4 — Nolan Ryan
Nolan Ryan is currently vying to buy the Texas Rangers, and that’s not even the worst decision he’s ever made. During his pitching career he liked to go for drives in the country, and he once brought back two adorable coyote puppies from a little jaunt. How could bringing home a pair of feral dogs possibly go wrong?
Ah, yes, coyotes bite. Of course one of the pups took a chomp out of the flamethrower, and animal control officers became concerned that Ryan might contract rabies. Ryan had to go through a painful battery of rabies shots that kept him out of his next start for the Astros. Meanwhile, Ozzie Guillen has enjoyed a lengthy managerial career for the Chicago White Sox while clearly dealing with the effects of an active rabies infection.
#5 — Greg Harris
Reliever and occasional starter Greg A. Harris piled up a pretty nice journeyman career from 1981 through 1995, but in 1987 he rang up one of the stupidest injuries of all-time. Harris missed two starts for the Rangers that season due to elbow inflammation. The cause of his malady? Harris had spent an entire game flicking sunflower seeds at a nearby friend from the bullpen. A lesson for aspiring pitchers: this anecdote illustrates why you should always, always spit your seed shells on your buddies. If you want to throw something at them, that’s what rocks and ninja stars are for.
#6 — Cal Ripken, Jr.
Ironman Cal Ripken, Jr. may have suffered the worst photography injury in MLB history. At the 1996 All-Star Game Ripken and his American League teammates were posing for a pregame team photo when pitcher Roberto Hernandez lost his balance. Hernandez swung his forearm back to steady himself, but unfortunately his errant limb cracked Ripken in the face, breaking the shortstop’s nose. You’re not going to believe this one, but Ripken played through the pain. Meanwhile, Orioles fans pooled their money and offered Hernandez $17,539 if he would have the exact same “accident” in front of Billy Ripken.
#7 — Glenallen Hill
Like a lot of people, former MLB outfielder Glenallen Hill is arachnophobic. Most peoples’ fear of spiders hasn’t cost them time off of work, though. While playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, Hill had a vivid, spider-related dream. He was so terrified that he jumped out of bed, broke a glass table, and cut himself on the shards so severely that he had to go on the 15-day disabled list.
Fun Fact: Hill was later named as a performance-enhancing drug user in the Mitchell Report, but he likely took them not for baseball reason, but so he could survive the spider-filled apocalypse that was foretold in the 1990 documentaryArachnophobia. Smart guy. Spiders eat Blue Jays and other birds.
#8 – Darius Vassell
If nationalized health care fails, there’s always Home Depot. In 2002 Aston Villa and English national team striker Darius Vassell was having a problem with a blood blister under one of his toenails. Like any reasonable person with health insurance and access to a large sports training staff would have done, Vassell attempted to drain the blood himself by using a power drill to pierce a hole in the toenail.
Unbelievably, this brilliant plan somehow went awry. Vassell drilled past the nail and into his toe, which necessitated removal of the nail and led to a nasty infection. He ended up missing several games for Villa as he recovered from the wound, but Vassell learned from his mistake and vowed to only use genuine, quality Dewalt tools on all future home surgeries.
#9 — Alex Stepney
If you watched the World Cup, you know that soccer’s goalies put themselves in a dangerous position all the time. It’s no surprise, then, that former Manchester United keeper Alex Stepney once dislocated his jaw during a 1975 match. The odd thing was how he did it: Stepney was injured not by a kick to the grill, but by yelling at his teammates. Apparently the goalie was barking orders at his defense so emphatically that his jaw popped right out. This injury was actually a great stroke of luck for Stepney’s friends and relatives when the temporarily mute Stepney was unable to bore them with his incessant talking about soccer.
#10 — Glenn Healy
Longtime NHL backup goalie Glenn Healy was something of a Renaissance man. In addition to winning 166 games on the ice, he also plays the bagpipes in several Toronto-area bands. In 2000 his two passions collided in an unpleasant way, though. While playing for Toronto, Healy was working on repairing a set of vintage bagpipes when he accidentally sliced his hand, an injury that required stitches.
In an effort to fill Healy’s skates, the Maple Leafs turned to the only other bagpipe-obsessed Canadian they knew: Rowdy Roddy Piper. Piper lost six straight starts but managed to assault most of the league with coconuts.
#11 — Svein Grondalen
Norwegian soccer star Svein Grondalen liked to start his days with a brisk morning jog. At some point during the 1970s, though, the defender’s daily ritual turned dangerous. Grondalen was trotting along when he ran into a charging moose. Although Grondalen was known for his burly physique, he was no match for Bullwinkle. He sustained injuries in the collision that kept him out of the Norwegian national team’s next contest. They’re still laughing about this one in Norway. Or at least they would be if Norwegian people ever laughed. (You’d be sullen and serious if your country was overrun with trolls, too.)
#12 — Andy Moog
Goalkeeper Andy Moog won three Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s, and he also managed to miss games for one of the most bizarre reasons. Moog was visiting children at a local hospital when he accidentally wandered into a quarantined ward. Moog soon learned that there was a reason the ward was being quarantined: he contracted a viral infection and lost six pounds. Children’s hospitals: is there any situation they can’t make hilarious?
#13 — Doug Wickenheiser
Early in the 1984-85 NHL season, St. Louis Blues centre Doug Wickenheiser was helping his teammates haze some rookies when he got a catastrophic injury. The basic gist of the hazing plan was that the rookies would be arrested and taken to jail on a phony charge, while the vets would go out for pizza for a few hours, then come retrieve them.
Everything went according to schedule until Wickenheiser decided to ride in the back of a pickup truck after leaving the pizza joint. He fell out of the bed and was hit by an oncoming car. Luckily, the other car was only going 15 mph, but the impact tore the ACL and MCL in Wickenheiser’s knee. The injury cost him a full season and a half away from the ice.
Fun Fact: There may have been some alcohol involved in this endeavor.
#14 — Kevin Mitchell
Think sneezing your way onto the DL is embarrassing? Slugger Kevin Mitchell can top that. The master of the barehanded catch once missed time after straining his ribs while vomiting (possibly as the results of seeing teammate Jeff Brantley coming out of the shower).
Oddly, that might not have even been Mitchell’s strangest injury. He also missed games after breaking a tooth on a microwave chocolate donut and needing a root canal. To this day, the broken tooth is the best outcome anyone has ever had from eating a microwavable frozen donut.
#15 — Clarence Biethen
In 1923 Red Sox rookie Clarence Blethen decided that he looked more intimidating on the diamond if he removed his false teeth. The strategy literally came back to bite him in the ass, though. Blethen liked to slip his dentures into his uniform’s back pocket while he was on the field, which worked until he had to make a hard slide into second base in an effort to break up a double play. When Blethen hit the ground for his takeout slide, his dentures took out a bite of him. Blethen had to be lifted from the game to seek medical attention for the bloody hunk that was missing from his rear.
Yankees fans, you shouldn’t need our help in turning this story into a competitive advantage. (Fine, here’s a hint. The first step involves knocking out all of Dustin Pedroia’s teeth.)
#16 — Marty Cordova
Baltimore Orioles outfielder Marty Cordova missed time in 2002 after falling asleep in a tanning bed. Cordova’s face was so sunburned that team doctors ordered him to avoid direct sunlight until the injury healed, so he had to spend the O’s games hiding out in the dimly lit clubhouse. Teammates later said they would have helped Cordova out of his jam, but they all just assumed the delicious aroma of roasting meat was from pitcher Sidney Ponson grilling another whole cow in the clubhouse.
#17 — Turk Edwards
Turk Edwards had a Hall of Fame career as an offensive lineman for the Redskins, but his time on the field came to an abrupt end in 1940. Edwards, one of the Skins’ captains, was so ecstatic that his team had won the pregame coin toss that he whirled around and ran to tell his coaches. Unfortunately, Edwards’ exuberance forced his cleats to become caught in the turf, and he blew out his knee. The injury was so severe that Edwards never took the field again. However, the Redskins did get the ball first. So it was an even trade-off.
#18 — Kendall Simmons
Kendall Simmons is the anti-Marty Cordova. While playing for the Steelers in 2006, guard Simmons missed an October game due to frostbite. Was it unusually cold in Pittsburgh that fall? Not quite. Simmons had fallen asleep while wearing a cooling device on his injured left heel, and the prolonged frigid temperatures left his entire left foot frostbitten and raw. Team trainers eventually warmed Simmons’ heel back to normal temperatures by building a small fire from timber harvested from the underside of Bill Cowher’s chin.
#19 — Roger Craig
Even managers can heroically soldier through injuries. While managing the San Francisco Giants during the 1980s, Roger Craig once made it to the bench despite having a serious laceration on his hand. The culprit for the cut: a bra strap. Craig never really explained how he sliced his mitt on a bra strap, but one can only hope and pray that John Kruk’s bountiful C-cup was in no way involved.
Nah, it wasn't Kruk. A hot piece of meat like Roger Craig got tons of women.
#20 — Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley did plenty of dumb stuff during his NBA career, but this might have been his finest hour. Just before the 1994 season, Barkley accidentally rubbed body lotion into his eyes while attending an Eric Clapton concert, which caused him to let loose with a string of tears, but not in heaven. The chemicals in the lotion burned Sir Charles’ corneas, and an ophthalmologist ordered him to wear patches on both eyes for 12 hours. As a result, Barkley missed the Suns’ season opener.
Sure, the injury itself was stupid, but the most incredible part of this story is that Charles Barkley, one of the baddest men in NBA history, willingly attended an Eric Clapton concert. Remember, kids, Barkley wasn’t a role model, so don’t think his endorsement means it’s okay to listen to Clapton’s solo work. It most certainly is not.