Tiger Woods said he doubts he will ever return to full-time golfing after his February car accident; See 5 other athletes that retired unexpectedly due to injuries.
The 15-time golf champion may have seen his last days as a full-timer after expressing doubts in a recent interview. In the aftermath of what has been described as a very horrifying automobile accident, gratitude for life tops all other sentiments for Woods.
10 months ago, when it was reported that Woods had been in a nearly fatal car crash after speeding over 75mph, the world held its breath, hoping for the best, amidst images that held very little promise. As with human nature, once the worst passed, the next question on many lips was if and when the legend will return to the sport he’s spent all his life playing.
Speaking on Tuesday, 30 November 2021, the 45-year-old shed more light on where he’s at physically and his outlook on things going forward. “As far as playing at the Tour level, I don’t know when that’s going to happen,” Woods said at his Albany tournament, the Hero World Challenge. “I’m lucky to be alive but also still have the limb, to not only be here but also to walk without a prosthesis,” he further said.
“I won’t have the opportunity to practice, given the condition of my leg, and build up. I just don’t. I’ll just have a different way of doing it, and that’s okay. I’m at peace with that. I’ve made the climb enough times,” Tiger Woods assured listeners. Should all these be the case, though he is out of the woods now, we can assume retirement is the more imminent eventuality for him now.
Athletes who have retired unexpectedly due to injuries
Apart from injuries sustained from his recent accident, Tiger Woods has struggled with many injuries over the years. He has had five back surgeries and five knee surgeries in his day, all of which have inadvertently taken a toll on his game. If such a situation can be so described, the leg injury from the crash is just a cherry on the injury cake.
More often than not, optimal performance in any sport requires a body in tiptop shape. But, injuries are an unavoidable plague of any sport, and they have halted the careers of many athletes across time. Here, we look at 5 athletes who have had cause to retire earlier than usual due to injuries.
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Andrew Luck – American Football
Former NFL star Andrew Luck was the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. By year six of his professional career, he had thrown for 4,593 yards. In the year he retired, Luck had 39 touchdowns, just shy of his career-highs set in 2014. He was only into the third year of his six-year contract when he retired in 2019. Luck had replaced Hall of Famer Peyton Manning by putting together four Pro Bowl seasons since being the top pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. By his third NFL season, he was leading the league in passing touchdowns and had become the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 370 yards, four touchdowns, and have a completion percentage of at least 70 percent in consecutive games. His decision to retire was resultant of lingering injuries.
Marco van Basten – Soccer
Dutch footballer Marco van Basten was forced to retire at the age of 31 after spending two years trying to overcome an ankle injury. Van Basten had three surgeries, but there wasn’t a major improvement. He, however, managed to return to lift the Euro 1988 title with the Netherlands, scoring in the final against the Soviet Union and ending the tournament as top scorer.
Read more: All You Need To Know About Tiger Woods’ Daughter, Sam Alexis Woods.
Brandon Roy – Basketball
Former Portland Trailblazers player Brandon Roy was a fast-rising baller who won Rookie of the Year in the 2007 season. He was averaging 20 points per game in his 3rd and 4th seasons. The same wasn’t the story in the season that followed, where Roy dropped off to 12.2 points per game due to recurring knee injuries. He decided to hang his boots the following season and came back in 2012 with the Minnesota Timberwolves, but only played a few games before finally bowing out.
Sandy Koufax – Baseball
According to CBS Sports, Sandy Koufax was one of the most dominant left-handers in the history of Major League Baseball. He was a seven-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner, and two-time World Series MVP. Sandy also led the Los Angeles Dodgers to four World Series titles. Sadly, the star pitcher’s career had to come to an untimely end due to unending elbow issues. That notwithstanding, his mark on the sport remains visible, and his legacy undying.
Yana Kudryavtseva – Rhythmic Gymnastics
A leg injury cut short the career of rhythmic gymnast Yana Kudryavtseva at the early age of 19. Amongst other accomplishments, she is a three-time Russian World Champion in the All-around, 2016 Olympic All-around silver medalist, and the 2015 European Games All-around champion. Yana holds the record as the youngest rhythmic gymnast to win the World Championships in the All-around at 15 years of age. She broke another record at the 2014 World Championships, becoming the youngest to win back-to-back All-around World titles at 16. Unfortunately, she announced her retirement in 2017 due to a leg injury.
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