Three to See – 3 Serious Sports Injuries Caused While Celebrating
There's nothing more embarrassing than having all eyes on you as you go from elation to dejection in a matter of milliseconds thanks to over-celebrating a big moment.
The news that Georgia St. basketball coach Ron Hunter tore his achilles tendon while celebrating his team's berth in the NCAA basketball tournament isn't all that shocking. Even a coach in fairly decent shape is still years beyond his peak physical condition, and there's a big difference between time on the treadmill and what we see from Hunter's injury. Seeing as this is only the 3rd-ever trip to the tournament for Georgia St., and 1st since 2001, we'll forgive him for overdoing it just a tad.
Coach Hunter will still be able to perform at his peak ability despite being on the sideline with crutches. Others, namely players, have not been so lucky when dealing with much more than just embarrassment. It's not only embarrassing to get helped off the field after injuring yourself while celebrating, it can cost you your season and maybe even your career.
There's even an episode of ESPN's Sports Science dedicated to athletes injuring themselves while celebrating.
Often confused for his kicker-brother Martin, Bill Gramatica is actually the infamous kicker that celebrating a game-winning FG with a leap into the air that cost him the remainder of his rookie season and quite possibly his football future.
Gramatica finished that rookie season 16-20 in FG attempts and seemed to have the pedigree to have a thriving NFL career, but following that season-ending ACL tear in his plant leg THIS Gramatica was never the same.
He would attempt only 28 more field goals in his career before trying Arena football. That would last only one season, meaning an entire career was derailed by one celebration, making this the worst sports injury to result from a celebration.
While it may be too early to determine whether the injury suffered by Morales is a career-killer, it's certainly safe to say it cost him nearly two full seasons and has left him as little more than a journeyman player.
It all began with a walk-off grand slam as a member of the Los Angeles Angels. Morales rounded the bases, and, as has become custom over the past decade-and-a-half, the team gathered at home plate to beat the ever-loving-hell out of Morales once he reached the plate. The trouble came, not on the launch, but on the landing.
The landing gave the weak-stomached sports fan changing the channel on the replays. It was nasty, and its effects linger to this day. The injury happened early in the 2010 season, and Morales didn't return until the 2012 season, meaning the missed nearly 300 games due to an injury celebrating his own walk-off grand slam.
While he's still in the league and may have a lot of baseball left in him at only 31-years-old, he's nowhere near the threat he was, and he's seen better days and better teams. He's shuffled via trade between Seattle, Minnesota and Kansas City. That's not exactly the luxury of playing in Los Angeles, but at least he's got a bat and he's still swinging, literally and figuratively, for the fence.
Finding only one more name to add to this shameful "Three to See" was tough. I could have gone with Gus Frerotte and his infamous headbutt into a concrete wall, but he wasn't out for significant time. I could have gone with Stephen Tulloch of the Detroit Lions for his over-the-top sack celebration that knocked him out for the season.
Instead, I'm going with Lamaar Houston of the Chicago Bears. His injury came after a sack on New England's Tom Brady. That's certainly something worth celebrating. He's a Hall of Famer, after all.
Houston definitely had a problem when he saw his 2014 season come to an end with a torn ACL after celebrating his sack of Brady. What makes this injury stand out even more is that it happened just one month after Tulloch's season-ending knee injury following a QB sack. He'd just seen, and probably laughed at, Tulloch's misfortune.
Where Houston's injury is unique and deserving of a spot on this list is the context of the game itself. Both of our first two players featured in this "Three to See" came celebrating game-winning achievements. Gramatica & Morales both won the game for their respective teams. Houston, not so much. The Bears were in the midst of a season-long slump and just so happened to be down by 25-points late in the game at the time the injury occurred. You're losing by 3+ touchdowns to the eventual Super Bowl champs and you blow out your knee celebrating the fact that you FINALLY did your job. Nicely done.