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When a spring fractured Massa's skull...

Last updated on: August 06, 2009 

When a spring fractured Massa's skull...

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Injuries are part and parcel of a sportsman's life.

However, in some cases, they occur when the sportsman concerned isn't entirely at fault, but suffers the repurcussions nonetheless.

And such freak injuries are detrimental to anyone's career.

Following a spate of freak accidents related to eminent sportsmen in the recent weeks, rediff.com takes a look at some most famous sufferers.

Felipe Massa (Brazil) - F1 driver

His is a very serious case.

Felipe Massa was knocked unconscious when a spring, which got detached from the rear suspension of Brawn driver Rubens Barrichello's car, struck him on the head in the recently-concluded Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring.

The Brazilian was airlifted to a Budapest hospital with a skull fracture following the injury during qualifying and suffered concussions.

The spring, weighing around 700 grammes, somehow penetrated the top of his visor and injured Massa above the left eye, perilously close to the cornea.

The accident came just six days after 18-year-old Henry Surtees died of injuries after being struck on the head by an errant wheel, in another freak accident during a Formula Two race at Brands Hatch.

The Brawn team is still trying to understand why a standard suspension part, which had previously given no trouble, should suddenly come adrift.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday the injured Ferrari driver left the hospital in Sao Paulo after a series of medical tests ruled out the need for further surgery.

Germany's seven-time Formula One World champion Michael Schumacher, who retired in 2006, will replace the Brazilian at Ferrari while he recovers.


Image: Felipe Massa
Photographs: Reuters
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...And Tevez slipped in the shower

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Carlos Tevez (Argentina) - Footballer

Everything seemed to have settled down at last for Carlos Tevez.

However, the Argentine, who was recently purchased by big-spending Manchester City from city rivals Manchester United for a whopping 26 million, is in a problem again. 

The striker, whose choice of club has come to symbolise Manchester City's ambitions, is in danger of missing the start of the season because of an injury suffered when he slipped in the shower and twisted his ankle in his Durban hotel suite during Man City's tour of South Africa.

Tevez aggravated a heel injury when he lost his balance trying to get out of the shower and has not been able to play any of City's pre-season games.

His situtation is such that his club's manager, Mark Hughes, has appealed for the Argentina head coach, Diego Maradona, not to include him in his squad for a friendly against Russia in Moscow next week.


Image: Carlos Tevez
Photographs: Reuters
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Zidane injured his back...

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Zinedine Zidane (France): Footballer

Earlier in July, French football legend Zinedine Zidane suffered a freak injury that threatened to cancel a charity match organised by him in Canada.

The World Cup winner and three-time World Player of the Year injured his back while bending down to pick up his child while watching Vancouver's Canada Day fireworks display.

The game, played as part of Zidane's promotional Canadian tour, was postponed for a week. 

Originally supposed to feature stars like Ludovic Giuly, Samuel Eto'o, Alessandro Costacurta, Gennaro Gattuso, and Franco Baresi, it eventually had Zidane as the main attraction, as none of the others showed up.

But Zidne still managed to put on a show, scoring three goals and setting up two others.

"The tour was not easy after sustaining a muscle tear," Zidane admitted later.


Image: Zinedine Zidane
Photographs: Reuters
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Clijsters tripped over her pet dog

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Kim Clijsters (Belgium): Tennis player

The Belgian had been out of action for a couple of months in 2006.

And as she geared to return in October, she suffered a freak injury that postponed her comeback.

Did we say freak?

The 2005 US Open champion tripped over her dog 'Diesel' while playing football.

The former world No 1 later admitted on her website that she lost her footing while playing with her pet, falling and bruising her tailbone.

"Even though I haven't been training in the last two days because of a bruised tailbone. Very silly: while I was playing football at home with Brian, his dad (who is visiting us for a couple of weeks) and the dogs, I tripped over Diesel - the biggest one - and fell badly."


Image: Kim Clijsters
Photographs: Reuters
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Search for shampoo proved costly for Jayasuriya

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Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka) - Cricketer

In January 2006, the Sri Lankan opening batsman had to undergo a fitness test after he dislocated his shoulder when he slipped in the bath.

The injury ruled him out of the remainder of the ongoing tour in New Zealand. 

"Sanath was reaching for his shampoo when he slipped and fell in his bath," was team manager Michael Tissera's explanation regarding the incident.

Jayasuriya's bizarre injury reminded aficionados of another such incident when former England fast bowler Derek Pringle was forced to miss a Test match after hurting his back while writing a letter.


Image: Sanath Jayasuriya
Photographs: Reuters
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Pigeon stepped on a ball and...

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Glenn McGrath (Australia): Cricketer

This freak injury probably cost Australia the Ashes in 2005.

Glenn McGrath, after leading Australia to win in the opening Test with an effort that won him the man-of-the-match award and also made him only the fourth bowler in history to take 500 Test wickets, was ruled out of the second Test shortly before the start of play after suffering a freak injury during a pre-match warm-up.

The quickie trod on a stray cricket ball during a game of touch-rugby and had to be helped into a groundsman's buggy by his team-mates.

England capitalised on a McGrath-less bowling attack to win the Test and McGrath had to be rushed back when not fully fit for the third Test at Old Trafford.

He responded with a five-wicket haul but then missed the fourth Test at Trent Bridge, which England won.

McGrath's injuries were seen as a key factor in England regaining the Ashes, as both their victories came in matches in which he was absent.


Image: Glenn McGrath
Photographs: Reuters
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Sosa injured himself sneezing

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Sammy Sosa (USA): Baseball

In 2004, Sammy Sosa injured himself sneezing.

Yeah, you heard it right.

Sosa sprained a ligament in his back after a violent sneeze.

It happened while sneezing and bending over in front of his locker.

The Chicago Cubs player sneezed twice shortly after arriving in the clubhouse before the game against San Diego Padres, which brought on back spasms and forced him to grab a chair to support himself.

"It would have been better if I had hit off the wall or we have a fight or something, but this ... you know what I mean?" Sosa was quoted as saying later.

"What can you do? Some things in life you cannot control. This is strange that it happened."


Image: Sammy Sosa
Photographs: Reuters
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As Ivanisevic strolled on a Florida beach...

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Goran Ivanisevic (Croatia): Tennis player

Goran Ivanisevic had to withdraw from the Miami Open in 2003 when he stepped on a sharp seashell as he strolled on a Florida beach.

In an effort to relax between practice sessions, the 2001 Wimbledon champion, decided to take a quick swim and suffered a cut to his left heel when he trod on a piece of glass in the water.

Although the wound was not serious enough to need stitching, it was still deep enough to prevent him playing tennis.

On another occasion the Croat needed stitches when he tried to head the ball over the net only to bang heads with his doubles partner Mark Philippoussis, who was himself concussed.


Image: Goran Ivanisevic
Photographs: Reuters
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Canizares's World Cup dreams got aftershaved

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Santiago Canizares (Spain): Footballer

We end on what is probably the strangest of them all.

Santiago Canizares missed the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea after dropping a bottle of aftershave on his foot.

Canizares severed a tendon in his right foot after a shard of glass penetrated his flesh.

The Spanish goalkeeper suffered the mishap in his hotel room at the team's training base in Jerez.

The injury was a bitter blow to Canizares, who was Spain's second choice goalkeeper at the 1998 World Cup and had only recently established himself as Spain's number one before the 2002 edition.

However, he managed to put on a brave face after being told that his World Cup was over.

"I do not consider myself to be unlucky by any means," Canizares was quoted as saying.


Image: Santiago Canizares
Photographs: Reuters
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