Injuries occur in sports every single day, with severity ranging from something minor like tweaking an ankle to something possibly career ending or altering.
Draft classes year in and year out have potential superstars who could dominate their respective league. Plenty of hype surrounds these players, with some deserving and some not so much. Throughout, there is one thing that could hinder the progress of these potential superstars; injuries.
The sky is the limit for any player who is drafted, but the injury bug could be something that these players cannot avoid. Some players will start off with solid careers and then get hit with an injury that they can’t ever seem to shake. Others don’t even get a chance to enjoy a successful career as injuries derail it from the get go.
One superstar who had his career hit by the injury bug was Ken Griffey Jr. In his 22-year MLB career, he spent a whopping 508 days on the disabled list. Junior Griffey, who was the 1987 number one overall selection in the MLB Draft, enjoyed immense success throughout his career, but could not avoid injuries the second half of it.
From 1989 to ’99, Griffey played for the Seattle Mariners, who drafted him. He was one of baseball’s biggest attractions on a nightly basis and was a beloved player in Seattle. Eventually, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, where he signed a 9-year, $112.5 million contract. At the time, many stated that Griffey had began decline as a superstar.
The injury bug would find him in 2001 and from ’01 to ’04, he missed 260 games out of 486. The former 1997 AL MVP suffered season ending injuries in 2002, 2003, and 2004. In 2005 he avoided injuries until September, when he strained a tendon in his left foot. In the 2006 offseason, he broke his wrist while on vacation in the Bahamas.
For a man who was a 13-time all star and currently ranks sixth in career home runs at 630, the Kid could never reach numbers many thought he would in the second half of his storied career because of injuries.
Another superstar who could not avoid injuries was Grant Hill, who recently retired from the NBA. In his first six seasons, he was blossoming into the superstar many thought he would turn out to be after having a brilliant collegiate career with the Duke Blue Devils. This all went away when he was traded to the Orlando Magic.
In his first four seasons with the Magic, Hill only played in 47 games. His career was never the same after missing his entire fourth season with Orlando due to a left ankle sprain he suffered in April of 2000. He also missed the first half of the ‘05/’06 season with a nagging groin injury.
Many considered Hill the next Michael Jordan early in his career and rightfully so. He was up there as one of the best players in the league, but the injury bug caught up to him, hindering what was looking to be a very successful career.
These are just two of many superstar athletes who have been hit with a plethora of injuries. Others include Tracy McGrady, who was at one time considered one of the top 5 players in the NBA, but was plagued with back injuries. Kerry Wood and Mark Prior were supposed to be two dominant aces for the Chicago Cubs, but arm injuries hindered that notion. Carnell “Cadillac” Williams appeared to shake his injury bug from college, but it quickly caught up to him in the NFL.
Any athlete can get injured at any given time. Some recover and continue to have success in their careers, while others aren’t so lucky.