What are some of the weirdest sporting injuries?

From a dislocated jaw caused by shouting at team-mates to dropping a jar of salad cream… after Dave Cherry was ruled out of the World Cup after falling down the stairs, what are some of the weirdest sporting injuries?

  • Cherry suffered a concussion and would have missed games due to protocols
  • Other bizarre causes for injuries include cleaning a fish tank and the use of a drill
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Whilst injuries are naturally part of sport at any level, they sometimes occur in the most unusual of ways in the most unfortunate of circumstances.

Scotland hooker Dave Cherry was ruled out of rest of the Rugby World Cup last week when he slipped and fell down some stairs. No broke ankle or arm from the fall, but concussion after hitting his head.

The 32-year-old ended up playing just 25 minutes of the tournament in France before Scottish Rugby said a decision was taken to ‘end his tournament involvement on medical grounds’ because Cherry would miss the next 12 days to follow return-to-play protocols.

He’s not the first sportsperson to have been ruled out of action due to a bizarre injury and won’t be the last. From power drills to jars of salad cream, sport has seen it all, and there will almost certainly be more to come.

Mail Sport has had a look at some of the weirdest injuries sports stars have suffered. 

Scotland hooker Dave Cherry has been ruled out of the rest of the Rugby World Cup in France

Cherry, who had played just 25 minutes at the tournament, suffered concussion after hitting his head when he fell down some stairs

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Jofra Archer cuts his hand on a fish tank

Jofra Archer and injuries have become quite an infamous duo to cricket fans over the last few years.

It’s been frustration after frustration for supporters and the player himself, with a series of elbow issues playing the main villain in what has been a horror of a few years for the 28-year-old.

In 2021, Archer was dealing with some elbow issues as he was ruled out of England’s ODI series in India having just played two Test matches and five T20s in Asia.

Before the series, the World Cup-winning fast bowler had been keeping busy and decided to clean his home fish tank… in the bath. The tank smashed. Glass everywhere. Including his finger.

The injury lay-off in March due to the elbow issues allowed Archer to get surgery on the finger to remove some glass that had been lodged in it since January. Two birds, etc.

England cricketer Jofra Archer once required surgery to remove glass from his hand caused by cleaning a fish tank

Alex Stepney dislocates his jaw shouting at team-mates

Before the days of David de Gea’s decade-long Manchester United career and Andre Onana’s ball-playing skills, Alex Stepney was the Red Devils’ No1 goalkeeper, gaining the trust of Sir Matt Busby.

Stepney enjoyed plenty of success in the red of United, winning the league in 1967, the FA Cup in 1977 and the European Cup in 1968.

Though not as good with his feet as some modern shot stoppers, the now-81-year-old was a commanding goalkeeper, whether that be coming to claim crosses, organising his defence or giving them a right talking to.

Having been involved in a collision with Bob Hatton in a match against Birmingham in 1975, Stepney took it upon himself of shouting at his defenders. When he opened his mouth, he dislocated his jaw. With no substitute goalkeeper, midfielder Brian Greenhof went in goal, but kept Birmingham out for the rest of the game.

‘I just shouted for the ball when my jaw clicked and left me in agony, Stepney later said of the injury. ‘It was ridiculous. The damage must have been done when Bob Hatton flattened me very early in the game.’

Alex Stepney (left) broke his jaw while playing for Manchester United while shouting at his team-mates during a game

Stepney won the European Cup and league title during his time with the Red Devils between 1966 and 1978

Rio Ferdinand strains his knee reaching for his phone

Before Rio Ferdinand went onto major domestic and European success with Manchester United, he was Leeds United’s star man and the most expensive defender and British player of all time.

So as one can imagine, the club weren’t best pleased when the future Champions League winner strained a tendon in his knee while watching TV.

Relaxing for some down time, Ferdinand had placed his foot on a coffee table and left it for a few hours without movement. When moving it to grab his phone, he strained his knee and was suddenly injured.

Footballer-turned pundit Rio Ferdinand strained a tendon in his knee while watching tv as a Leeds player

Michael Jordan severs a tendon with a cigar cutter

Basketball legend Michael Jordan remains in the conversation as one of the greatest players of all time, but there were for a moment fears that his retirement came around due to an almost unbelievable reason.

Jordan called it a day in 2003 for the third time, having originally retired in 1993, he also tried to hang up his boots in 1999 before finally doing so four years later.

In 1999, Jordan suffered a severed tendon in his finger after ‘fooling around’ with what he described to be a ‘cheap’ cigar cutter. He underwent two surgeries and was dealt nerve damage as a result.

‘They saw all the ligament damage I already had from dislocating my finger so many times,’ Jordan said in a 2000 interview. ‘So the only thing he could do was reattach the tendon. He said, “You’ll lose some mobility, there is nothing I can do.'”

‘I can still shoot, but I can’t grip the ball completely. I have a tough time picking it up off the dribble like I used to.’

He returned to the court in September 2001. Panic over. 

NBA legend Michael Jordan once severed a tendon in his finger while ‘fooling around’ with a cigar cutter

Johnson picked up the injury before his second retirement but made a full return to the court

Jonny Bairstow destroys his ankle and misses T20 World Cup win playing golf

England cricketer Jonny Bairstow was coming off the back of the summer of his life with the international team, scoring runs for fun for the Test side and preparing to head to Australia for the T20 World Cup.

That was until disaster struck. Most cricketers are known to love golf, and Bairstow is no different. Or he wasn’t.

The Yorkshireman slipped while walking to a tee box at his local course near Leeds in September 2022, missing months of action and having to watch England’s campaign on tv in a boot.

He wasn’t missed too much, with England winning the trophy to become the first men’s side to hold the ODI and T20 World Cups at the same time. 

England cricketer Jonny Bairstow picked up a severe foot injury while playing golf last year

The batter missed out on the 2022 T20 World Cup as England added the trophy to their white ball World Cup collection

Serena Williams and the beer bottle

After winning the Wimbledon title for the 13th time in 2010, Williams travelled to the German city of Munich.

There, she sliced her foot open on a beer bottle that had been left by some raucous football fans in the doorway of a restaurant.

She needed stitches in the wound and it left her on the sidelines for several months before she later needed two operations to repair a lacerated tendon.

‘I ended up fainting because I lost so much blood. It felt weird,’ she said. As a result of the wound, a blood clot formed on her lung but she made a full recovery eventually.

Serena Williams suffered a lacerated tendon after treading on some glass in Munich in 2010

Darius Vassell tries to pop a blood blister with a drill

If one thing is certain when it comes to footballers, they should never try to deal with injuries on their own. That’s what the professionals are for.

Someone should have told Darius Vassell that. Though not the biggest issue, the former England forward found himself bothered by a blood blister underneath his big toe and took action into his own hands to try and pop it.

His decision resulted in the toenail of his big foot having to be removed because of a blood infection and a few games on the sidelines, much to the ‘amusement’ of his Aston Villa side.

In 2018, Vassell tired to put rumours to bed that he used an electric drill, but did admit the error.

He told Sky Sports: ‘I attempted some DIY. It wasn’t with a Black and Decker drill as has been described on the internet.

‘When you’ve got blood under the nail, you need to get into that to relieve the pressure. Unfortunately, with me, anything that was touching that nail was excruciating so I attempted to do it myself at home, but I couldn’t do it because just touching the nail was painful.’

A drill specially made to treat nail infections, apparently.

Former striker Darius Vassell used a drill to try and pop a blood blister and ended up having his big toenail removed

Bryce Mitchell tears his scrotum on a power drill

Speaking of drills…

MMA fighters can get hurt in a lot of ways but this one is not to be expected.

Bryce Mitchell, like Vassell, loves a bit of DIY, but things got a little out of control when he required medial treatment when things went wrong with a power drill, and this time we’re sure it was a power drill.

In his own words, Mitchell posted on Instagram: ‘I was gunna train today but I ripped my n****** in half. I’m bout to get stitched up.

‘I was holding a board over my head with a drill in my pants. I was sizing up the board and the drill went off and tangled my n*** up n it. I dropped the board and reversed the drill and untangled my n****** but they was ripped n half. I’m serious too lol.

‘When my n*** are sealed back up ima come train again. I think a high kick would re-rip them haha.’

MMA and UFC star Bryce Mitchell, meanwhile, tore his scrotum via a power drill turning on while in his pocket

Kim Clijsters twists her ankle while dancing

In 2011, Belgian tennis player Kim Clijsters suffered a nasty ankle injury while dancing barefoot at her cousin’s wedding.

The former world No1 smashed into another guest and twisted her right ankle, feeling the pain instantly and fearing the worst for at least her immediate tennis career.

Things got worse when, as she limped away from the dance floor, another guest trod on her exposed toe. As a result, she missed most of that year’s clay-court season.

Former world No1 tennis star Kim Clijsters missed most of the 2011 clay-court season after twisting her ankle and having her toe stood on at a cousin’s wedding

Dave Beasant drops a jar of salad cream on his foot

Dave Beasant is most famous for two thing: his FA Cup heroics in 1988, and dropping a bottle of salad cream on his foot.

The shot stopper became the first goalkeeper to save a penalty in an FA Cup final during Wimbledon’s success in 1988, captaining his side to glory as the first goalkeeper skipper to do so in over 100 years.

At the other end of the scale, in 1993 he dropped a far of salad cream in his kitchen and, perhaps instinctively, tried to control it with his foot. It was not the football he was used to.

The jar smashed on his foot. Salad cream everywhere, and a severed tendon in his big toe. He missed eight weeks at the start of the season as a result.

Former goalkeeper Dave Beasant missed eight weeks of action after dropping a jar of salad cream on his foot

Beasant made his name after saving a penalty in the 1988 FA Cup final and captaining Wimbledon to glory

Sammy Sosa sneezes so violently that he sprained a ligament in his back

Like many, baseball legend Sammy Sosa had many highs and lows in his career. From the highs of 609 home runs and the home run race of 1998 with Mark McGwire, to… and injury from sneezing.

Perhaps in the twilight of his career, Sosa was in is mid 30s when he was ruled out of action after suffering back spasms, resulting in some violent sneezes that resulted in him spraining a ligament in his back.

‘He’s going to receive an epidural tonight to calm down some of the inflammation and lower back pain,’ Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said of the injury in 2004. ‘It’s pretty certain he’ll be missing a couple of weeks. So it looks like it’s a situation.’

Luckily for Sosa, the injury wasn’t long-term and there was no disc damage, though he did miss a few games. 

Sammy Sosa once sneezed so violently due to back spasms that he sprained a ligament in his back, but avoided long-term damage

Former Rangers and Scotland full back Kirk Broadfoot, meanwhile, was hospitalised after a microwaved egg exploded in his face

Kirk Broadfoot burns his face after a microwaved egg explodes

Former Rangers and Scotland full back Kirk Broadfoot found himself in hospital after his face was burnt when he found himself toe-to-toe with a microwaved egg.

In 2009, Broadfoot had just poached two eggs when one exploded and left him with hot water on his face, putting him in hospital and causing bad burns.

He was allowed home on the same day after being treated for scalds on his cheek, with then-boss Walter Smith admitting there could have been serious consequences for his career had he been hit in the eye.

Luckily enough for Broadfoot, in a way, he was already out injured with another issue, so didn’t miss any playing time as a direct results of what happened.


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