The Most Tragic Incidents In The History Of Sports

Heartbraking moments in sports - Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Though there have been a lot of heartbreaking incidents in the world of sports and bringing all of them in one list might not be possible but we have listed here some great careers in the making which were brought to a sudden halt due to some disaster.

1. Joe Theismann

Heartbraking moments in sports Joe Theismann

In just 2 appearances in Super Bowl, Joe Theismann, had one win and an MVP award. He had also set most of the records for a quarterback for Washington Redskins organization. In 1985 on a Monday night Joe was playing a game against New York Giants, their division rivals. On one of the attempted flea flickers, Joe was sacked for loss of yards by Lawrence Taylor. In an instant Taylor jumped, but not with joy but to signal the Redskins to send their medical personal. Theismann was down with agony; his leg, broken in half between knee and ankle, his upper shin was sticking up at an angle of 45 degree while lower shin was lying flat on the ground. That was the end of career of a legend in making.

2. Dave Dravecky

Heartbraking moments in sports - Dave Dravecky

After Miraculously surviving cancer, Dave Dravecky, made his comeback for the San Francisco Giants. He was an outstanding pitcher before doctors discovered a tumor on his playing arm. When he appeared healthy again after surgery and recovery and rehab time he made a comeback on August 10, 1989. He had an amazing comeback with 8 great innings which lead to the victory. In the sixth innings of his very next start, a few days later, his career ended in a split second when he was throwing a pitch and his humerus bone snapped in half. He had gained many followers because he had fought against cancer and made a great comeback. His arm was amputated two years later.

3. Clint Malarchuk

Heartbraking moments in sports - Clint Malarchuk

Clint Malarchuk was goalie for the Buffalo Sabers. In 1989 he was playing against the St. Louis Blues when 2 players collided into each other, while crashing in the net, Steve Tuttle’s skating blades struck and slit Malarchuk’s jugular vein(throat). The ice was instantly was flooded with blood and Malarchuk was take to locker room with assistance of referee and coaches. He called for a priest and asked people to tell her mom that he loves her as he thought that he was about to die this was when Jim Pizzutelli, a trainer, pinched the vein in his neck so that flow of blood stops till doctors arrive. His neck was repaired by 300 stitches and a surgery taking 90 minutes. A few fans fainted and a couple of them suffered heart attacks by the sight while 3 of the players vomited on the ice.

4. Heysel Stadium

Heartbraking moments in sports - Heysel Stadium

Date: 29th May 1985; Location: Heysel Stadium, Belgium; Event: European Cup Final between Liverpool vs. Juventus.
It was going to be a very big game. 60,000+ fans arrived to witness this game of football. It became too crowded and many tried to sneak in without tickets. there were large wire fences to separate the fans of both the teams. About one hour before the kickoff was to take place the fans began throwing trash and stones at the opposing fans from over the fence. A group of Liverpool fans scaled over the fence. The Juventus and other football fans began to rush to escape from the Liverpool fans. The stadium was not in the best of shape and the wall around the stadium collapsed due to pressure of the fleeing fans. More than 600 people were injured while 39 lost their lives. After restoring order the game was played where Liverpool lost 1-0. Later English clubs were banned from taking part in European competition for 5 years.

5. Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Heartbraking moments in sports -  Dale Earnhardt Sr.

7 time world champion and one of the most controversial NASCAR driver ever, Dale Earnhardt used to fight for every race regardless of the conditions and is often remembered as the greatest driver ever. In 2001 Daytona 500, he was in 3rd place when he went into the final turn. His car fended off Sterling Marlin and his car was tapped and collided head first into wall at 150 mph. Because of the impact, Earnhardt’s neck snapped as his entire body was jolted the blow to his head banged on the steering which killed him instantly. Kenny Schrader leapt out of his car and immediately signaled for the paramedics after a quick look in from the window. It was a sad day in Sporting world. Even the long awaited win of Michael Waltrip was not celebrated.

6. Hillsborough

Heartbraking moments in sports - Hillsborough

96 people were killed in a human crush during the 1989 semi-final of FA Cup between Nottingham Forest and Liverpool. There was a car accident on the road leading to the stadium which lead to a huge traffic jam as a result thousands of fans were got late for the match. This lead to overcrowding at the entrance gate and crowd was getting out of control thus cops decided to open an exit so that fans can get in quicker without missing much of the work. As everyone rushed in from this end the Fans in the front were pushed towards the fence which separated them from the field. The game was stopped for six minutes when it was noticed that people were crushing against the fence. The fence eventually collapsed resulting in 700+ fans getting injured. As many as 44 ambulances arrived on site in time, but not even one could
enter the stadium.

7. Munich Massacre

Heartbraking moments in sports - Munich Massacre

West Germany hosted the Olympic Games in 1972 where Israel, despite some uneasiness, decided to compete. Two weeks from the start of the games terrorists from an organization connected to Yasser Arafat, Black September, took some of the israeli athletes as hostages from their room. The Germans tried a lot to negotiate with them, even offering until an amount of “unlimited sum of money”, without any cooperation from. After an unsuccessful rescue mission by German police, The terrorists demanded a jet plane to Egypt, which was accepted, but was actually a bluff. When the terrorists along with the hostages arrived at the airport and saw their plan failing they open fired at the hostages hostages. 5 out of 8 terrorists were killed in the encounter while eleven Israeli athletes and coaches lost their life.

8. Munich Air Disaster

Heartbraking moments in sports - Munich Air Disaster

Perhaps Munich Massacre was not the only time Munich had seen a sports tragedy, on 6th Feb 1958 a charter plane with official Manchester United team crashed after refueling at Munich Airport. 23 out of 44 passengers lost their lives. Eight Players and 3 club officials were in the deceased list. This team had not lost a game in their last 11 matches.

9. Ayrton Senna

Heartbraking moments in sports - Aryton Senna Crash

If you follow F1 you know who Ayrton Senna was. This 3 time world champion was one of the most prolific and influential driver not only in F1 but in all of the motorsports. Though his career was cut short by a tragedy but he still holds the record of most number of victories at Monaco Grand Prix and third highest wins(which might be overtaken by Sebastian Vettel with the way he is going). Not only was he a great driver but a greater human. During Qualifying session in 1992 Belgian Grand Prix Erik Comas crashed heavily, unlike any other incident ever seen in F1, Senna got out of his car, without caring about his own safety to help a fellow Driver. Two years later at San Marino Circuit in 1994, Roland Ratzenberger, an Austrian rookie F1 driver had died a day before during qualifying, while many did not think about him Senna was carrying an un furled Austrian Flag which he would have hoisted after the completion of the race in Ronald’s honour, BUt during Lap 7 of this race Senna crashed into concrete wall at around 145mph. Senna died within minutes of the crash.

If there is some incident that you think was worth a mention but we missed do let us know below in comments.

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