Top-10 Worst NFL Injuries Of All-Time

Nick Chubb's leg injury
Nick Chubb's gruesome leg injury

Gridiron as American football is known is one of the most physically intensive sports on the planet. Too often players collide against each other, in the process, dislocating bones and suffering from concussions. These injuries sometimes go on to have a long-lasting effect on the players. As revealed in the 2015 movie, Concussion, NFL players are at serious risk of head trauma related to football-related injuries. While injuries are a regular occurrence in sports, protective measures are held in high esteem by NFL management, despite this, throughout the history of the NFL we have seen career-ending injuries and amazing recoveries after gruesome injuries. We search throughout history to bring to you the Top 10 worst American Football/NFL injuries of all time.

10. Destry Wright Injury

Destiny Wright Leg Injury
Pittsburgh Steelers’ Destry Wright lies gruesomely injured after dislocating his right ankle and also broke his leg. (Photo credit: Bleacher Report)

The most painful thing ever to happen to a young energetic athlete is for his career to end as soon as it begins. This was exactly what happened to Destry Wright who played just a season for the Pittsburgh Steelers. In a June 2000 preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys, Wright twisted his ankle, which dislocated and also broke his right leg. The injury was so gruesome that his right foot was facing the opposite direction. Wright had to retire as a result of his injury.

9. Jeff Fuller Injury

Jeff Fuller Injury in 1989
San Francisco 49ers’ Jeff Fuller lays injured in October 1989. (Photo credit: Scott Sommerdorf)

Right after the Loma Prieta earthquake, San Francisco 49ers had to face the New England Patriots at Stanford University stadium. In that game which was played in October 1989, Jeff Fuller collided his helmet against an opponent’s helmet. The impact of the collision broke his neck and was partially paralyzed. Fuller was unable to rise after the collision. Fuller went into rehab and had to retire from football. He can now walk but cannot use one of his hands.

8. Bo Jackson Injury

Bo Jackson Injury
Bo Jackson Injury (Photo credit: Aggie Skirball/

One of the most sport diverse individuals, Bo Jackson holds the record of being the only sportsman to be named All-star in Baseball and American football. While playing for the Los Angeles Raiders in January 1991, Bo was involved in a really tough tackle. The impact of the tackle broke and dislocated his hip bone. Bo lost all the cartilage in his injured hip and was forced to call it a quits on both his football and Rugby careers.

7. Junior Seau Injury

Junior Seau Injury
Junior Seau in pain after sustaining a broken arm injury in 2006. (Photo credit:

Junior Seau is a reminder of the painful struggles of NFL players. Beyond the glamour and antics on the field, NFL players are humans with emotions like every one of us. After coming out of retirement to play for the New England Patriots, in a game against the Chicago Bears in 2006, Seau attempted to make a tackle, during which he caught and broke his arm. His arm snapped and could be seen dangling as he rolled on the ground. That was how Seau retired from football. Years later, precisely in 2012, the NFL star shot himself in the chest. 

6. Eric Wood Injury

Eric Wood Injury
Eric Wood after sustaining a broken leg injury in November 2009. (Photo credit:

Shortly after he signed a five year deal with the Buffalo Bills, Wood began playing for the side. But in November 2009, in a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, opponent player, Montavious Stanley tackled Wool and pinned his shin to the ground. The tackle broke Wood’s leg in two. It was revealed that he suffered a compound fracture in his tibia and fibula. Fortunately, Wood’s recovered to begin the 2010 season with the Bills.

5. NaVorro Bowman Injury

NaVorro Bowman Injury
NaVorro Bowman suffered a broken knee injury in 2014. (Photo credit: Elaine Thompson / AP)

While playing for the San Francisco 49ers in 2014, Bowman joined a group of players struggling for the ball. In the midst of the scrimmage, an opponent player landed on Bowman’s knee which caused his knee to bend. The opponent player, oblivious of what had happened landed completely on Bowman furthering worsening his injury. His knee reportedly bent at 45 degrees. The injury caused him to miss the 2014 season but he returned to action in 2015.

4. Jeremy Lane Injury

Jeremy Lane Injury
The Seattle Seahawks Jeremy Lane #20 after sustaining a gross broken arm injury during the 2015 Super Bowl. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

While playing for the Seattle Seahawks against the New England Patriots in the 2015 Super bowl, Lane fell on his arm after he was tackled by an opponent player, Julian Edelman. His arm couldn’t bear the impact of his weight and thus snapped, and he sustained injuries from his wrist to his elbow. 

3. Darryl Stingley Injury

Darryl Stingley gruesome injury
Oakland Raiders’ Jack Tatum delivered that crushing hit that gruesomely rendered Darryl Stingley paralysed during a pre-season NFL game in 1978. (Photo credit:

One of the most gruesome injuries in the history of the NFL, this injury was really heart wrenching. While playing for the New England Patriots in a 1978 preseason game, Stingley collided against Oakland Raiders player, Jack Tatum. In the collision, Tatum helmet collided against Stingley’s shoulder. The collision resulted in a broken spinal cord and 4th and 5th cervical vertebrae. Stingley could not rise following the collision and became a quadriplegic. 

2. Mike Utley Injury

Mike Utley Injury
Mike Utley carried out on a stretcher moments after gruesome paralysing hit in 1991. (Photo credit: AP)

One of the toughest guards in the history of the NFL, Utley played in every game for the Detroit Lions in 1991, until disaster struck in November 1991. In a match against the Los Angeles Rams, Utley was hit and couldn’t move his body. In his ordeal, he flashed a thumbs-up to fans to show he was doing fine, but the case was the exact opposite. It was revealed that Utley broke his cervical vertebra in the hit and will be paralyzed.

1. Kevin Everett Injury

Kevin Everett Injury in 2007
Buffalo Bills’ Kevin Everett neck injury in September 2007. (Photo credit: (AP / Don Heupel)

The Buffalo Bills former player career came to an abrupt end in September 2007, when he attempted to make a tackle against, Denver Broncos player, Domenik Hixon. Everett sustained a neck injury as a result of the tackle. He thus fell to the ground unconscious and was whisked away from the pitch on a respirator. It was later revealed that the cervical spine was dislocated and fractured. The injury ended his career.  He however slowly gained movement.

There you have it—Our curated list of the top-10 worst American football/NBA injuries of all time. What do you think? Which injuries in the NFL did you expect on this list? Please share with us in the comment section below.

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