I saw one of these live. Watching a game between the Brisbane Broncos and the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the NRL, as a kicked floated towards Jharal Yow Yeh. A Jharal Yow Yeh who was one of the most promising young rugby league players, let alone wingers on the scene, he had done rather difficult acts like jumping up over his opposing dwarf, catching and touching down, he had done it with ease many times before.
Any time you come back to earth, there's going to be some impact with your body. This time around Yow Yeh suffered a gruesome, terrible injury which was apparent rather swiftly.
He didn't get up. Then I saw a blood stain on his sock and my mind immediately started racing.
He clearly didn't cut himself. There was only one way there could be blooding coming from his ankle, only one way.
Paul George suffered a similar fate as he collided with the basketball hoop stand, apparently it's called a stanchion. Legs are delicate things, as are all human limbs, as are humans but there's something about legs.
Paul George's leg had no chance and the same shock floated around the Team USA basketball team and those who were there to watch an exhibition, pre World Cup run around. You could only really see what exactly happened on a replay, so I'm not sure if people who watched it live immediately knew, but they would have quickly noted what was going down as horror became the common reaction.
I only saw the Yow Yeh accident live. George's break blew up as support from the NBA community flooded in and it was a similar case when Anderson Silva went for a kick against Chris Weidman in a rematch after Silva had lost his title to Weidman. He went for a kick and ended with his foot pointing in an extremely weird direction, not natural, that same pause, that eerie feeling, filled the arena.
The first thought thinking back on these three injuries was that sport does't have a prejudice, certain players don't get a free pass because they're the greatest, or they're the nicest, it simply doesn't matter.
Injuries strike like drone attacks at the hand of Uncle Sam, indiscriminately
This shouldn't be a realisation for anyone, we get reminded that these athletes are mortals on a near daily basis. Having the same sort of injury happen to three sportsmen who were at the top of their game was something else though.
The first was Yow Yeh's and from I understand, his was the most complicated as the fracture/mess was at the ankle joint. There's got to be multiple little bits and pieces going on in an ankle joint, Yow Yeh tried valiantly to come back to the NRL but it simply proved to be too difficult.
Silva broke both his tibula and fibula in an injury that looked very similar to George's, obviously differing greatly in their circumstance. Both breaks were thanks to pressure below the knee, snapping both lower leg bones compared to Yow Yeh's break where his foot was landing.
For a brief period of time, as word started to come that George was draining shots in a gym I wondered whether Yow Yeh would been able to make a come back if he had similar resources that George has in the NBA. I'm sure Yow Yeh had top doctors and all, but the resources that NBA teams have access to are far greater than an NRL club.
But the nature of Yow Yeh's break was such that it's not as simple as just getting the two bones re-attached. At the age of 24, Yow Yeh retired. You have to imagine that Yow Yeh has the ability to make as much, if not more of a difference outside of the rugby league field now.
While Silva and George suffered similar injuries, you would hope that their outcomes, the way they emerge from that situation, is very different.
As George looks to return to the NBA this season, with many Indiana Pacers fans hoping that he's back in time for the playoffs in a few months, Silva made his come back. Silva fought Nate Diaz, early this year which marked a sorry saga for the UFC as news of negative drug tests came to be. Silva tested positive in pre and post-fight tests for steroids while Diaz tested positive for the herb.
I think it's safe to assume that Silva's steroid use was to assist in his come back, to assist in recovering from a severe leg break and then strengthening all the muscles and bones involved to a UFC-fight level. That's not just being able to walk, that's being able to bounce up and down on your toes, throw kicks, set up punches and do stuff that regular humans rarely do in their lives.
A difficult task which looks like it was too difficult to do without some illegal help.
I guess it's great that Yow Yeh didn't quite have the same resources as Silva then, right?
This is not to say that George must be a drug cheat, definitely not. While we don't know how he'll return to the NBA, when he'll return and what will come of his return, there's plenty of footage of him looking pretty good. I think the NBA does offer George a luxury, which will see him make a come back and hopefully a return to his best.
We live in exciting times where technology and science mean that every day it feels as though something new is popping up. The plight of three athletes in different sports who all suffered a similar, tragic injury shows that there's no blueprint for recovery. At this very moment, two of these guys have their legacies some what figured out as Yow Yeh embarks on his quest to continue to make a big difference in the lives of those less fortunate and Silva tries to juggle a stellar MMA career with the dark cloud of PED use hanging over our last memory of him fighting.
Paul George could possibly make a come back to the NBA this year, a goal achieved which when you consider the fate of the other two is no small task.