What sets elite sportsmen apart from the rest, apart from their natural ability, is hard work and their desire go above and beyond, in the pursuit of victory. We have compiled a list of some of those particular sportsmen. Playing through the pain and competing with injuries that would have most of us calling up a loss of limb injury lawyer, these guys really did smash through the pain barrier.
Bert Trautmann – The modern soccer player is often mocked by other sportsmen for their histrionics. Sometimes it only takes a brush of an opposing players shoulder to leave the modern player rolling around claiming injury. Back in post war England, that couldn’t have been further from the case. In the 1956 FA final, the Manchester City goalkeeper, Bert Trautmann, broke his neck in a collision with an opposing forward. Instead of rolling around or calling for an ambulance, the German continued to play on, and helped his side win the final at Wembley.
Brett Favre – NFL legend Brett Favre is famous for the number of injuries he played through. From severe concussions to torn muscles and fractured bones, the former Green Bay Packers quarterback has been through them all. But less well known is that while playing for Southern Mississippi, Brett was involved in a horrific car accident and ended up having 30 inches of his intestines removed. Five weeks later he took the field and led his team to victory against Alabama.
Shun Fujimoto – Japanese gymnast Shun Fujimoto helped Japan take gold in the 1976 Olympics. The Japanese were touted as one of the favourites to take the top prize in Montreal, so there was no surprise when they took the podium. The manner in which Fujimoto helped them win, however, became stuff of legend. Shun broke his kneecap in a previous round of competition, but continued on to take his place for the final event. He competed through the pain, on the rings, and even dislocated his already broken knee, on the dismount. Unbelievable courage and dedication.
Tiger Woods – At the 2008 US open, American golfer Tiger Woods played 91 holes at Torrey Pines, with a broken leg and a torn ACL. In fact Tiger was playing with several fractures to his tibia, and virtually no ligaments in his knee. He fought through five days of competition and even an extra hole play off against Rocco Mediate, before taking the title against all the odds. Journalist Mark Reason believes Tiger Woods’ win was the greatest sporting achievement “of all time”.
Curt Schilling – Boston Red Sox Curt Schilling had such a horrific injury during the 2004 World Series, that he even had a medical procedure named after it. The Schilling tendon procedure is “a temporary surgical procedure developed by the former Boston Red Sox team physician William Morgan, MD to stabilize the peroneus brevis tendon so that it is prevented from anterior displacement during ankle eversion.” Throughout the series against St Louis, Schilling’s right ankle tendon kept disconnecting. In a crude surgery the team doctor sewed it back together and Curt took the field with a bloodied ankle to help the Red Sox claim their first World Series since 1918. Schilling immediately became a hero to the people of Boston, but the injury ultimately forced him into retirement.
Steve Yzerman – Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman lead the team to back to back Stanley Cup victories in 1997 and 1998, but his greatest achievement came in 2002 when he lead the team to victory once again. Yzerman had struggled with knee injuries throughout his career and suffered a major injury during the 2002 season, missing 30 games. When it came to the playoffs, Steve Yzerman stepped up to the plate, and played through excruciating pain to lead his team to victory. Playing with pain killing injections Yzerman’s knee was void of any cartilage. He was skating game after game, with bone literally rubbing on bone.