The sportsmen who competed with broken bones

August 17th, 2016

It’s been a packed summer of sport – with the Olympics underway in Rio right now, the Premier League season just getting started and the tennis and cricket seasons reaching their climax, there’s so much taking place right now that it’s hard to keep track of it all.

We’ve already witnessed some amazing performances over the last few weeks, from athletes in all kinds of different disciplines.

Make no mistake, though, sport can still be dangerous, as witnessed by some of the nasty injuries we’ve witnessed at the Games. In many cases, a bone breakage, sprain or fracture can mean the end of their competition, followed by a few big months of recovery.

But not always. Sometimes particularly courageous sportsmen and women have braved the pain of a broken limb to ensure success and bring home medals for themselves, or glory for their team.

LimbO takes a look at some of the most extraordinary performances by though whose battled through the pain in pursuit of glory.

Bert Trautmann

Playing in goal for Manchester City, Trautmann was left concussed and hurt after a collision with Birmingham’s Peter Murphy during the second half of the 1956 FA Cup Final. Despite this, he staggered to his feet and remained in goal for the rest of the match, making crucial saves to give his team the trophy. It wasn’t until a few days later that Trautmann learnt the clash had broken his neck, and that the fact he wasn’t killed or paralyzed was down to sheer blind luck. Bert’s career never quite recovered after the injury, but he was always to be remembered for his heroic effort.

Paul Terry

Paul Terry’s England cricket career was short-lived – he managed just two test matches for the side in 1984 – but still managed to write himself into history in the second. After having his arm broken by West Indies fast bowler Winston Davies, he arrived for the second innings with his arm buried in his jumper, scoring the two runs that got Allan Lamb his well-deserved century against the fearsome Windies bowling attack.

Franz Beckenbauer

German football legend Beckenbauer also went down the ‘brilliance with a broken arm’ route. After dislocating his shoulder in the semi-final of the 1970 World Cup against Italy, and with no substitutes to replace him, Beckenbauer simply put his arm into a sling and played on for the rest of the game. Germany lost 4-3 in a game dubbed the ‘Match of the Century’, but that shouldn’t detract from a miraculous feat.

Rory Best


Rugby hooker Rory Best put his body on the line during Ireland's last-gasp defeat to New Zealand in 2013. Best broke his arm after 15 minutes during a tackle. Rather than backing out, he was in the defensive line for the very next All Blacks wave – throwing himself into a defensive ruck a mere thirty seconds later.

Kirk Gibson


Back in 1988, Kirk Gibson hit one of the most famous home runs in baseball history with injuries to both of his legs. During the first game of the 1988 World Series, Kirk wasn’t listed on the line-up. The Los Angeles Dodgers were trailing the Oakland A’s in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs. Kirk suddenly appeared from the Dodgers’ dugout with injuries to his right hamstring, ankle, and left knee. He limped over to the plate, and managed to hit a two-run walk-off home run that won the game. To this day, his performance is considered one of the best in baseball history.

Shun Fujimoto


This Japanese gymnast wrote himself into folklore with a gutsy performance at the team event at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. A poor landing on a previous piece of apparatus had left Fujimoto in pain with his knee damaged, but with the Japanese team close to a gold medal he had no choice but to compete in the pommel horse and the rings event – which requires a particularly strong dismount from the apparatus. Fujimoto completed the routine on one leg, collapsing in agony afterwards, but his persistence brought his team-mates a gold medal they richly deserved. When asked years later if he would do it again, he replied simply: ‘No, I would not.”

Jack Youngblood

American footballers have had to play through all kinds of conditions that would sideline many of us for weeks. For sheer bravado, though, there’s nothing like eighties NFL punisher Jack Youngblood. A defensive end for the Los Angeles Rams, Youngblood broke his fibula bone at the end of the regular season, yet started for the team all the way through the playoff games and the 1980 Super Bowl with a cast on his leg, while making tackles that would put most rugby players to shame – all in one of the most physically punishing sports imaginable.

Sportsman or not, you’ll want to have the opportunity to feel like a champ this summer with a broken limb – which LimbO can provide with its range of waterproof protectors for bathing and showering.