Top 10: The truth hurts

Believe it. You couldn't make up these bizarre out-of-competition injuries.

Believe it. You couldn't make up these bizarre out-of-competition injuries

"Dude, is that Joel Zumaya or Allen Collins signing autographs?" ((Paul Sancya/Associated Press))

Million-dollar salaries. Plush hotel suites. Amorous groupies. Pro athletes have it made in the shade, eh?

Yes. But there are hazards. Huge tax bills. Incompetent room-service staff. Amorous groupies. Plus, there's the matter of all those other guys on the field or ice who are paid to hurt and/or embarrass you.

Of course, some sportsmen don't need any help when it comes to inflicting both injury and insult on themselves. Examples? New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress accidentally fired a bullet into his own thigh at a Manhattan night club, Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose claimed he sliced his arm with a knife he left in bed after paring an apple, and Colorado Avalanche centre Joe Sakic mangled several fingers when he tried to clear out his snowblower.

And that's just in the last couple weeks.

But don't sweat it, fellas. You're not alone. Here are 10 other athletes who memorably suffered bodily harm at their own hand.

Dan Boyle: The unkindest cut

The then Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman needed surgery in September 2007 after his skates slipped off a hook in the dressing room and sliced three tendons in his left wrist. You could say Boyle's made a full recovery: He's now the top-scoring blue-liner on a San Jose Sharks team that's off to an NHL-best 22-3-2 start.

Chris Hanson: Jack axe

Chop blocks. Blind-side tackles. Knees to the groin. There are plenty of ways to get hurt in the NFL, but Hanson may be the first player in league history to be injured by a metaphor. When Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio brought a tree stump and an axe into the dressing room in 2003, he meant to show that his struggling team could learn something from the slow and steady technique of a lumberjack. But the demonstration went awry when his punter took an awkward swing and plunged the ax into his left (kicking) leg. The resulting gash earned Hanson a trip to both the emergency room and the injured reserve list for the rest of the season.

John Smoltz: Iron man

"So you're saying I have to take off the shirt first?" ((Win McNamee/Getty Images))
Even the most famous athletes aren't exempt from the occasional household chore. Smoltz, whose stellar two-decade career as an Atlanta Braves pitcher should get him into baseball's hall of fame some day, decided back in 1990 that one of his shirts needed ironing. The problem? He was wearing the garment at the time, and the iron scalded his chest. Smoltz has since denied this, but wouldn't you?



Marty Cordova: Red in the face

You wouldn't think a big-league ballplayer would need help working on his tan, but Marty Cordova apparently wasn't satisfied with his skin tone when he visited a California salon in May 2002. Too much time under the lamps burned the Baltimore outfielder's grill, forcing him to sit the next game.

Joel Zumaya: Guitar anti-hero

You haven't experienced a sore wrist until you try to rock Free Bird on the expert level in Guitar Hero. Zumaya knows. The flame-throwing Detroit Tigers pitcher missed three games of the 2006 American League Championship Series after too much time spent playing the popular video game caused inflammation in his throwing wrist and forearm.

Clint Barmes: Oh, deer

Venison isn't just delicious, it's good for you: The leanness and low cholesterol content of the deer meat makes it a healthy alternative to beef. Unless you're Barmes. The Colorado Rockies shortstop broke his collarbone in 2005 when he fell down a flight of stairs while trying to lug a package of it given to him by teammate Todd Helton.

Erik Johnson: Summertime blues

"I also like to relax with the occassional game of golf." ((Karen Stockman/Associated Press))
Football? Dangerous. Hockey? Dangerous. Golf? Not so much, but tell that to Johnson. The first overall pick in the 2006 NHL draft saw his sophomore campaign with the St. Louis Blues end before it began as the result of a freak injury on the links. Don't laugh. The big defenceman tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee last off-season when his foot got caught between the brake and accelerator of his golf cart during a team outing.



Glenallen Hill: Spidey (non)sense

You know the typical baseball injury report: Henderson (ankle), Rodriguez (elbow), Hill (arachnophobia). Huh? The former Toronto Blue Jay's severe case of spider fright turned all too real when a nightmare about the eight-legged creatures caused him to fall out of bed and tumble through a glass table. The resulting cuts and scrapes landed Hill on the disabled list and earned him a new nickname: Spiderman.

Darren Barnard: Dog days

Man's best friend? Yeah, right. Barnard was knocked out of action for English soccer team Barnsley in the late 1990s when he slipped on a puddle of urine left by his trusty canine and wrecked his knee.

Brandon Marshall: Unhappy meal

The Denver Broncos wide receiver needed surgery last spring after suffering right forearm lacerations to an artery, a vein, a nerve, two tendons and three muscles. How'd he do that? While wrestling with family members at a Florida resort, Marshall slipped on a McDonald's wrapper, stuck his arm out to break the fall and put it through a TV entertainment centre. Seriously.