Sports Superstars Whose Careers Ended Early Due to Injuries


When it comes to sports, injuries are unavoidable, but certain players have a difficult time staying in the line-up due to constant injuries. As many great players there are in sports, there are a number of superstars who never realized their full potential because their career was derailed by a single serious injury or even multiple injuries.

From Bo Jackson in the 1980s to Yao Ming in the early 2000s, some players were forced to retire much too soon from the sport that made them superstars. Some of the following names were on the cusp of becoming legends, but called it quits. MLB pitchers and NFL running backs seem to be more prone to these severe injuries. This demonstrates how taxing the two positions are for the most gifted athletes.

For non-professional athletes, getting injured may not be as much of a hit to their careers. Still, if you are injured and it is someone else’s fault, you need to protect yourself. A chat with a personal injury attorney toms river or personal injury attorney nyc can quickly tell you if you have a case and if they can represent you in the case. You do not want to lose your income, due to this injury.

Despite leaving their careers early, a lot of these athletes continue to have a significant influence on their respective sports. However, imagine how far they could have gone if they hadn’t been injured.

Gale Sayers — NFL Running Back (1960s)

Gale Sayers was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, though he played just seven seasons for the NFL. While playing for the Chicago Bears during the ’60s, he led the league in rushing two times. Unfortunately, Sayers would hurt his right knee that sidelined him for the last games of the 1968 season. He would return the year after and seemed to not lose a step. However, another injury to the other knee would essentially end what was on pace to be one of the greatest careers in the NFL.

Many NFL experts believe that Sayers would be remembered as the greatest running back of all-time if he could’ve played out his career without injury.

Bo Jackson — NFL Running Back (1980s)

In the 1980s, Bo Jackson was one of the biggest stars in sports, due to his dominant play as a dual athlete playing with football’s Los Angeles Raiders and baseball’s Kansas City Royals. Who remembers Nike’s “Bo Knows” campaign? At the time, fans and most everyone else believed Jackson was unstoppable, but his body would weaken under the strain of his two-sport athletic ambitions.

After signing with the Raiders, when owner Al Davis agreed to allow him to play baseball and miss football games, he was dominant on the field for four seasons. However, a serious hip injury suffered while playing would cut his NFL career short. He played baseball until 1994, when he was 32 years old and retired.

Bo would later reveal, in a 2017 interview, that he regrets playing football and says he would never allow his children to play the game.

Yao Ming — NBA Center (2000s)

Yao Ming, standing at 7 feet 6 inches tall, was one of the NBA’s tallest players ever. His height and skill made him a dominant player — that is when he was healthy enough to play. Due to lingering injuries, his career only lasted just over seven seasons in the NBA.

At the beginning of his career, he appeared in at least 80 games in each of his first three seasons. That wasn’t the case for the following five seasons though, where he appeared in fewer than 60, missing almost two full seasons. Ming retired in 2011, when he was just 30 years old, citing consistent foot and ankle injuries as the reason.

Although Yao’s play was limited, he made the All-Star team in every season he played and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Brandon Roy — NBA Guard (2010s)

Brandon Roy was a three-time NBA All-Star during his career and even won Rookie of the Year honors, but was forced to retire at the height of his career due to knee issues.

Chosen with the 6th pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, Roy quickly made an impact and ultimately became a superstar on the Portland Trail Blazers. During his brief career, he played as much as 37 minutes per game and 22.6 points a game during the 2008-09 season. That season, he would average nearly 27 points in the playoffs. However, he would retire in 2011 at the age of 27, citing knee problems. Apparently, his knees wore down so considerably that he had practically no cartilage between the bones of both knees.

Roy would attempt a comeback in 2012, but would play in only 5 games before he needed to undergo knee surgery. The injury would spell the end of his career in the NBA.

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