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Career Ending Injuries

April 11, 2018 | By | In: athletes, dance injury, overuse injuries, sports injury

Overcoming Career Ending Injuries.

Any career ending injury can be a source of stress for any performer or athlete. If you are an athlete, an injury can be devastatingly life-altering, In some cases, it may even result in permanent damage, significant impairment, and career ending injuries. If sports is your passion and livelihood, and injury will affect you both personally and professionally. Just about everyone knows that injuries and sports go hand in hand.

For professional athletes, the impact of such an event goes far beyond the physical trauma sustained. The injured party must not only deal with the pain and suffering involved, but they are often forced to confront the end of a dream and loss of identity. Of course, any severely injured party must deal with similar issues, however, not everyone’s sense of self and paycheck necessarily depends on their physical prowess. With athletes, their physical well-being and mobility are inherently linked to their job performance, as well as their overall identity.

Recovering from yet another knee surgery, Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose is the latest athlete with a potentially legendary career that seems jeopardized by an inability to avoid injury. The 26-year-old suffered a medial meniscus tear in his right knee in February, and basketball fans in Chicago and beyond fear he’ll never regain the form that made him the youngest MVP in NBA history.

In many cases, sports was something that gave these performers a purpose and helped them come into their own. As children, they might have felt lost or performed poorly in school from an academic standpoint. Yet, athletics was something they excelled at and felt a connection with from a very early age.

Athletes who’s careers ended due to an injury:

  • Jay Williams, NBA – Motorcycle Accident Broken Pelvis and Torn ACL
  • Terrell Davis, NFL – Torn ACL
  • Danny Manning, NBA – Torn ACL
  • Daunte Culpepper, NFL – Shredding Right Knee. Torn ACL, MCL and PCL
  • Bernard King, NBA – Blown Knee, Tearing His ACL
  • Jamal Anderson, NFL – A Torn ACL
  • Derrick Rose, NBA – Knee Injuries
  • Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard – Elbow Injury
  • Eric Wood, NFL – Neck Injury
  • Dennis Pitta, NFL – Hip dislocation

“Football players, skiers, trail runners, soccer players, who suffer a ACL tear / knee injury will look for alternative treatments rather than go under the knife.” – painandinjury.com

Through physical therapy and specific exercises, a patient will start to strengthen the damaged muscle group. Injuries to the kneecap, hamstring, meniscus, and the ACL require physical therapy / rehabilitation treatments in order to return to the activity lifestyle they once had.

Career-ending injuries affect musicians, too

Career-ending injuries not only strike athletes — they also can take down musicians. Musicians can suffer severe back, neck or arm injuries.

Dancers too are victims to career ending injuries.

Ballet dancers also are at risk of facing career-ending injuries. That leap, then pop can be debilitating. Ankle, and knees joint pain he same again? Can it be fixed so that I can dance? Who has ever come back from this injury? Why did it happen to me? The sound of the pop can be so loud that it is heard by fellow dancers, or theatergoers in the front row. But the scene of the agonized dancer being carried off stage was not in the choreography; not even dreamed of.

Patellar Tendonitis (“Jumper’s Knee”) – At the base of the kneecap (patella) is a thick patellar tendon, connecting the patella to the tibia bone below. … Usually caused by overuse, especially from jumping activities and is often called “jumper’s knee.”

This was the case with David Hallberg, who rose to the ranks of principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre while also garnering the distinction of being the first American to hold that same title simultaneously at the renowned Bolshoi Ballet. Hallberg made a connection with dance in early childhood and he worked tirelessly to perfect his craft. When he suffered his career-ending injury, the dancer’s world came crashing down and spiraled out-of-control.

As a dancer, Hallberg was accustomed to sustaining injuries and “playing hurt,” as many athletes in various sports do. Despite difficult operations and arduous rehabilitation, the artist struggled to recapture his form and passion for his work. The experience had not only left him with a career-ending injury, but it managed to break him mentally and fracture his psyche. For many in this profession and the world of athletics, powering through such injuries is all part of the job and an accepted risk. While everyone is aware that serious injuries can sideline a performer, many players assume they are immune and it will not happen to them.

The truth is, no one is immune to misfortune or adversity of a career ending injury. It can happen to any athlete, musician, dancer, you or me. Regardless of your profession, physical therapy and rehabilitation are often a crucial component of an injured person’s recovery. Whether surgical intervention is required will depend on the severity of the injuries and circumstances involved.

Nonetheless, it is important for all athletes and performers, to develop a comprehensive rehabilitation plan, with the care of sports medicine doctors, physical therapy & rehabilitation staff, athletic trainers,  family or friends. This focused group serve as the patient’s support system, working together to foster the injured party’s recovery plan.


Common dance career ending injuries:

Injuries that are very common in dancers include joints and muscle overuse injuries involving an ankle, leg, foot or lower back.

Some common dance career ending injuries are:

  • Hip injuries: snapping hip syndrome, hip impingement, labral tears, hip flexor tendonitis, hip bursitis and sacroiliac joint dysfunction
  • Foot and ankle injuries: Achilles tendonitis, trigger toe and ankle impingement
  • Knee injuries: patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • Stress fractures: metatarsals, tibia, sesamoids and lumbar spine
  • Dancers are known to develop arthritis in the knee, hip, ankle and foot

Before You Consider Surgery:

Athletes face really tough decisions when it comes to a pathway to recovery. A career ending injury can kill an athletes or performers dream to play, dance or compete.  Recuperating from injury is a process. Accepting the process of rehabilitation, will ease physical and mental pain.

The Best Sports Medicine Doctor in Smithtown, NY

“Before you count yourself out of the game — or fall into a deep depression over a possible career ending injury; contact a sports pain specialist. Find out how injury rehab can put you back center stage preforming, competing or training with your team.  You don’t need to suffer from lingering injuries. There are injuries that include PRP Threapy that can put you back in the game.” — Dr. Matthew Kalter of Kalter PMR in Smithtown New York.

496 Smithtown Bypass, Smithtown, NY 11787.


  • The 25 Greatest Sports Careers Ruined by Injury: www.complex.com/sports/2012/10/the-25-greatest-sports-careers-ruined-by-injury/
  • 11 Athletes Whose Promising Careers Were Derailed by Injuries: www.boston.com/sports/untagged/2015/03/06/11-athletes-whose-promising-careers-were-derailed-by-injuries
  • Amazing Athletes Whose Careers Were Destroyed by an ACL Injury: www.cheatsheet.com/health-fitness/young-athletes-whose-careers-have-ended-because-of-an-acl-injury.html/?a=viewall
  • www.cbc.ca/player/play/1179703363548 Career-ending injuries affect musicians, too
  • www.huffingtonpost.com/kevin-r-stone-md/ballet-dancers-and-acl-injuries_b_9030370.html Ballet Dancers and ACL Injuries
  • www.painandinjury.com/blog/category/acl-injury/ ACL Tear? Are You Ready Fo Rehab?
  • dancecompreview.com/7-most-common-causes-of-knee-pain-for-dancers/ – 7 Most Common Causes Of Knee Pain For Dancers – Dance Comp …
  • www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/articles-and…/ask…/common-dance-injuries Common Dance Injuries and Prevention Tips – Johns Hopkins Medicine
  • www.nbcsports.com/video/dennis-pitta-loses-millions-career-ending-hip-injury – Dennis Pitta loses millions from career-ending hip injury | NBC Sports

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