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10 Craziest Freak Accidents that Sidelined Pro Athletes

Last year, Giants’ pitcher Jeremy Affeldt cut himself trying to separate frozen hamburgers, sidelining him temporarily. Here’s a new one for Affeldt: He’s headed back on the DL after he sprained a ligament in his knee while lifting his 4-year-old son last weekend. In March, Joba Chamberlain had a similar accident while jumping on a trampoline with his kid. It left him with a severe ankle injury. But they’re not the first athletes to have freak accidents. Here’s a look back at 10 the funniest reasons that players have had to sit out some time:

MARTY CORDOVA

Cordova, while a member of the Orioles in 2002, headed to a tanning salon for a short touchup. However, the plan went awry when Cordova fell asleep inside the tanning bed and woke up fried. Doctors told him to play it safe and not be outdoors during the day when the sun could hurt his recovery, so he missed a game. Rickey Henderson could have counseled Cordova during those tough days – Henderson once sat out three games after getting frostbite from falling asleep on an icepack.

SAMMY SOSA

In 2004, the slugger got hurt in one of the wussiest ways possible: He sneezed. But it was hard enough that Sosa sprained a ligament in his lower back. “I feel like I’m 95 years old right now,” he said. Before you hurt yourself from laughing too hard, consider that Kevin Mitchell once strained a muscle from vomiting. Watch your every move.

GLENALLEN HILL 

Glenallen Hill
Rick Stewart, Getty Images

How can a fear of spiders lead to a severe injury if there are no spiders around? Hill once found a way thanks to a nightmare that caused him such distress that he crashed through a glass table and down a flight of stairs. He was so badly bruised that the Blue Jays put him on the 15-day DL to recover. No word on whether those weeks away helped Hill recover from the psychological effects his arachnophobia was having on him.

BRET BARBERIE 

Bret Barberie
Otto Geule Jr, Getty Images

The journeyman infielder made a name for himself when he once got hurt…eating. See, Barberie was preparing a deliciou plate of nachos for himself, with chili peppers and hot sauce for a kick. Before eating, he went to put his contact lenses in, presumably so he could see his masterpiece better. When he touched his fingers to his eyes, though, Barberie felt such a bad burning sensation that he had to be sidelined for several games.

GLENN HEALY

As Healy’s NHL career was winding down in 2000, he was playing more with a set of antique bagpipes. It was a good hobby to have, but when he was changing his bag one day, he sliced his hand. The wound took between 10 and 40 stitches to patch up, depending on the report. Healy thankfully didn’t miss any time because the injury took place during the offseason. He still undoubtedly had to take the ridicule from his fellow players.

BILL GRAMATICA

Sometimes when you win you really lose. That’s what Gramatica learned the hard way in December 2001 when he landed awkwardly amid celebration of a made field goal. He tore his ACL. But years later he had a sense of humor about the whole thing. “My jump was excellent. It was my landing I needed to work on. It was funny. It was part of my career. I talk about it all the time. You have to laugh about it,” he said. For many, it was reminder about how fragile football players can be, even during their celebrations. Gus Frerotte’s name comes to mind.

VINCE COLEMAN

The stolen base guru is best known for an incident during the 1985 NLCS  that reportedly left him on the losing end of a battle with a tarp. While warming up before the game. Coleman didn’t notice that an electrical tarp machine was starting to cover the field. It ran over his leg, causing a chip to break and forcing Coleman to miss the rest of the playoffs.

HUNTER PENCE

Pence missed a week of Spring Training in 2008 after he had a self-described”silly” accident when he walked into a sliding door he didn’t see was closed at the time. The door shattered when Pence struck it. He was heading inside from his hot tub to use the restroom. He tried to wash off the blood, but soon realized he’d need the help of medics and called 911 to come to his aid.

JOEL ZUMAYA

He was once one of the most feared relievers in the league, clocking a 104 mph fastball. But Zumaya fell from grace after injuries started to surface in 2006. Zumaya was held out of three games of the American League Championship Series after he was hurt playing “Guitar Hero.” He suffered inflammation in his right wrist and forearm. Before you cast judgment on Zumaya, remember that the Kings’ Lionel Simmons also missed games during his rookie season in 1991 after  after he developed tendinitis in his right wrist from playing too much Game Boy.

JOHN SMOLTZ

It’s a story that has become attached to the great pitcher. That time he got hurt ironing a shirt he was wearing. But is the story true? Unfortunately for fans, Smoltz has repeatedly denied it ever happened and it’s been falsely reported many times over the years. He proved himself as an Iron Man for his work on the field, not for his wardrobe malfunction.

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