These Athletes Rebounded From Devastating Injuries In Big Ways

msn-slideshow | 7/15/22

Sports make for some of the most gruesomely watchable television you’ll ever see. Like watching a horror film come to life, when a player’s body bends in a way it’s not supposed to, we all cover our faces and watch the screen through open fingers.

For many athletes, these injuries are career ending. But for a select few, they recover and return to the field or court. These athletes stand above the ground and deserve to be pointed out. You won’t believe what happened to Russell Westbrook before he was named MVP!

Giancarlo Stanton Takes A Fastball To The Face

Giancarlo Stanton makes baseball fun to watch. When he hits a home run, it’s a beautiful thing. It was not a beautiful thing when Brewers pitcher Mike Fiers hit him the face with a fastball.

Photo Credit: Mike McGinnis/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

When the disastrous injury struck, it wasn’t expected to be serious. It turns out getting hit in the face by a fastball is pretty serious, and Stanton suffered multiple facial fractures. Stanton came back stronger than ever and signed a record $325 million contract one year later. In 2018, he hit a home run off Fiers, getting his revenge.

Keenan Allen Won’t Let His Kidneys Keep Him Down

Few athletes in recent memory have been as unlucky as Keenan Allen. A monster when he’s on the field, Allen missed 23 games in two seasons, and it all started with a kidney injury. Eight games into a record-setting 2015 campaign, Allen was hospitalized with a kidney injury. He missed the rest of the season.

Photo Credit: Peter G Aiken/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Peter G Aiken/Getty Images

When Allen returned the next year, he tore his ACL two minutes into his first game. More determined than ever, he played all 16 games in 2017, catching 102 passes for 1,393 yards. He was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

Derek Carr Jumps Back In After Breaking His Leg

In 2016, Derek Carr was the heart and soul of the Oakland Raiders. The franchise quarterback led the team to its first winning record since 2002. It all came crashing down in week 16 when he was tackled and broke his leg. He knew right away it was broken along with the team’s playoff dreams.

Photo Credit: Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Brian Bahr/Getty Images

During the offseason, Oakland showed their faith in him with a new $125 million contract. He rewarded them by throwing for 3,496 yards with 22 touchdowns the next season.

Stephen Curry’s Ankle Gives Golden State A Golden Discount

Stephen Curry may now be baking in the glory of numerous NBA Championships but that wasn’t always the case. In 2012 the Warriors knew he had all the talent in the world, but he was also recovering from multiple sprains and ligament tears in his ankles.

Photo Credit: Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Golden State took advantage and signed the injury-prone star to a four-year, $44 million contract extension. Sounds pretty crazy now, doesn’t it?

Rob Gronkowski Refuses To Retire After 16 Injuries!

We’re convinced that Rob Gronkowski is more machine than man at this point. His career includes16 times, six of which were serious.

Photo Credit: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Three back injuries, two forearm fractures, and one torn ACL had the best tight end in the NFL contemplating retirement after the 2017 season.

Megan Rapinoe Returns Just In Time For The Summer Olympics

Megan Rapinoe helped the United States Women’s National Team win the World Cup in 2015. Shortly after, she tore her ACL, putting her participation at the 2016 Summer Olympics into question. ACL injuries are some of the toughest to come back from, but Rapinoe proved up to the challenge.

Photo Credit: Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Missing the start of the tournament, Rapinoe made her momentous return in the quarterfinal match against Sweden. Facing massive roster turnover, the USWNT team was expected to win with the return of one of its core players. The team lost to Sweden, failing their expectations, but Rapinoe was just as good as ever.

Drew Brees’ Injury Turns Him Into A Hall Of Famer

A long time ago, in an NFL far, far away, Drew Brees tore his labrum while playing for the Chargers. The shoulder injury was career-threatening, so San Diego chose Phillip Rivers over continuing with Brees.

Photo Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Brees signed a $50 million contract with New Orleans. Four years later, he won a Super Bowl. Dr. James Andrews, the man who performed the surgery, said it was “the most remarkable comeback I’ve ever treated. All expectations were that he has a career-ending shoulder injury.”

Russell Westbrook Goes From Questionable To League MVP

Russell Westbrook will forever be associated with the Oklahoma City Thunder. When he tore his lateral meniscus in 2013, though, everything almost changed. The knee injury happened in the playoffs, and Westbrook was supposed to be ready for the next season.

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Only he wasn’t, and Thunder fans were left wondering what was wrong. After seven long months, Westbrook finally returned to the court. In 2016, without Kevin Durant and James Harden by his side (yes, they BOTH played for the Thunder), Westbrook finished one of the only triple-double seasons in NBA history and won the league MVP.

Noah Syndergaard Might Actually Be Thor

Standing 6’6″ tall with flowing locks, it’s easy to confuse Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard with Marvel hero Thor. The truth is, they might actually be the same person! After tearing a muscle in his pitching arm in 2017, he miraculously returned at the end of the season to pitch in the final game.

Photo Credit: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

Asked why it was important to return, Syndergaard answered, “I feel like I needed it just because I’ve put in so much work the past five months. I felt like I needed to get something out of it.” He needed to prove Odin wrong! To top off his amazing recovery, Thor started for the Mets on opening day the next season and struck out ten batters!

Blake Griffin Is Powered By Injuries

One look at Blake Griffin’s injury history, and you’d be surprised he’s still allowed to play in the NBA. More surprising is how much better he gets after each injury! Since being drafted in 2009, Griffin has suffered ten reported injuries.

Photo Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
Photo Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Griffin was traded to Detroit in 2018 and scored 24 points in his first game. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, Griffin lost the end of the season to another injury.

Buster Posey Is The Original Russell Westbrook

When Buster Posey was tackled by Scott Cousins at home plate in 2011, Giants’ fans worldwide held their breath. Could it be possible that the spark that ignited the team’s 2010 World Series run would have his career ended less than one year after?

Photo Credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The short answer is no, but the road to recovery was long and hard. The tackle left Posey with a fractured fibula and several torn ligaments in his ankle. MLB quickly changed the rules regarding plays at the plate. Posey returned in 2012 better than ever, earning MVP honors while leading the Giants to another World Series title.

Maria Sharapova’s Third Shoulder Injury Is Nearly Her Undoing

Maria Sharapova was no stranger to shoulder injuries before 2013. Her 2008 campaign was derailed by an injury that sidelined her nearly a year. Her third shoulder injury nearly ended her career.

Photo Credit: Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts/Getty Images

Sharapova was the number three ranked women’s tennis player in the world when her injury forced her to withdraw from the U.S. Open. She was heartbroken. In 2014, she returned to the court to win the French Open. Her heart was fixed and so was her shoulder.

Michael Crabtree Doesn’t Let His Achilles Tear Down His Career

A few months after recording his first 1,000-yard season with the 49ers, Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon. He returned with five games remaining the next season but wasn’t the same athlete. That is until he left San Francisco for Oakland.

Photo Credit: Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Crabtree was better than ever with the Raiders, recording his second 1,000-yard season in 2016. The Raiders went 12-4, and any doubts about Crabtree’s diminished skill set were put to rest. In 2018, he signed a $21 million contract to play for the Baltimore Ravens.

Lindsey Vonn’s ACL Tear Doesn’t Keep Her Away From The Podium

Lindsey Vonn is the face of women’s alpine skiing in the United States. Her face almost disappeared in 2013 when she crashed, tearing her ACL and MCL and fracturing her shinbone. Try as she might to make a comeback, her future looked bleak when she withdrew from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Photo Credit: Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images

Vonn’s recovery wasn’t easy, but she fought her way back and qualified for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. Triumphantly, Vonn found her way back to the podium, placing third in the women’s downhill event. Afterward, she dedicated the medal to her grandfather.

Paul George Breaks His Leg And Becomes A Scoring Machine

During a practice for the United States basketball team in 2014, Paul George broke his right leg. The compound fracture of two bones required immediate surgery. Pins were inserted into his leg, and doctors said he could miss the next NBA season or more.

Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

George somehow returned to practice the next February, six months after the injury. In April, he played in his first game since the injury. The next two season he averaged nearly 24 points per game. Before the injury, he averaged under 20 points per games.

Jabari Parker’s Two Torn ACLs Can’t Keep Him From Scoring

Jabari Parker in his short first four years in the NBA tore the ACL in his left knee twice. The first time came at the end of his rookie season. The second time happened 51 games into the 2016-17 season. Parker was averaging 20 points per game at the time but was suddenly seeing a lot of zeroes in his future.

Photo Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Parker’s long recovery took 12 months. He slowly saw his minutes increase during games. All the rust came off after two months when he scored 35 points in an overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets.