Tuesday, July 5, 2016

5 Great Injury Comeback Stories

An injury to an athlete can be as minor as a cut on the arm and as serious as reconstructive surgery. For people who devote their entire lives and livelihood to staying healthy and fit, the threat of injury is always a concern. We’ve all heard about the unfortunate career-ending injuries past and present, but we’re probably even more familiar with the athletes who came back from seemingly rock bottom to produce stellar performances. You may know of one that hits closer to home, but here are some of what we thought are the biggest injury comebacks in sports.

Kerri Strug vaulted the U.S. Women’s Olympic gymnastics team to new heights when she landed probably the gutsiest vault anyone has seen in Olympic history. Strug badly injured her ankle on her first vault, leaving many to believe there was no way she could land a perfect second vault to give the Americans the gold medal. Despite excruciating pain, Strug ran down the mat, executed a perfect vault and landed on one foot to seal the deal for the American team and cement her place in sports history.

Photo credit: success.com
Bethany Hamilton loved surfing from the moment she could stand up on a board. A shark attack when she was just 13 years old left her without her left arm. In a show of courage and confidence, Hamilton was back on her board and competing just three weeks later. She’s gone on to carve herself a very successful career in professional surfing.

Drew Brees tore his labrum and partially tore his rotator cuff in his throwing arm while playing for the San Diego Chargers in 2005. After intense rehabilitation and a lot of hard work, Brees found his way to New Orleans and led the Saints to their first ever championship. He’s gone on to become one of the most successful quarterbacks in NFL history across the statistical board.

Photo credit: espn.go.com
Byron Leftwich broke his left tibia during a game against Akron University. After receiving an X-ray, Leftwich came back into the game and tried to spark a rally for the trailing Marshall Thundering Herd. While they ended up losing the game, his guts became a thing of sports lore. Many spectators remember him hobbling on one leg to make amazing throws and his lineman carrying him down the field between plays to reach the line of scrimmage.

Niki Lauda is a household name in Formula One racing, and he regularly spoke out for driver safety during his time in the sport. In 1976, the German Grand Prix was scheduled to be raced, and Lauda tried to garner support for boycotting the race due to poor safety standards on the track. Without the support, Lauda decided to drive and was involved in an accident that caused his car to burst into flames. Badly burned and having fallen into a coma, Lauda miraculously raced just six weeks later and finished fourth in the Italian Grand Prix.
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