Champion motorcycle racer Nicky Hayden was cycling, as part of his training, on the Rimini coast in Italy when fate struck a cruel blow. The Italian was hit by a car and he collided with the windshield on impact.He died on Monday, joining a long list of sportspersons who have lost their lives while playing or training.
There is always that element of danger to all sports – both the contact and non-contact ones.
Contact sports pose no risk if played by the rules, but that rarely happens. Gamesmanship has been become a fine art since time immemorial and this opens up the chance of fatal injuries. Some of the best in their chosen sport have lost their lives, sometimes through a split second error or through wrong judgement.
Scuba diving is rated among the riskiest, with statistics revealing that at least four divers die per 100,000 dives.
And the sad part is that even if you practise hard and hone your skills, it still won’t help.
In the world of cricket, Australian opening batsman Phillip Hughes lost his life after being hit on the neck from a short ball from Sean Abbott during a first class match in 2016.
The talented opening batsman fell to the ground and struggled for his life for two days before dying on November 27. He had a helmet on but it did not provide sufficient protection. This incident shocked the world as the hugely popular Hughes passed away just three days before his 26th birthday.
The case of top Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna was in many ways bizarre. The San Marino Grand Prix in 1994 was probably a doomed one from the start.
On the first day, Senna protégé Rubens Barichello had a narrow escape when his car crashed heavily at a chicane during the practice session. Senna got out of the car, went to hospital with the injured driver and only returned to complete the session after Barichello recovered consciousness.
The incident upset Senna so much that he broke down while speaking to his girlfriend.
The next day during the qualifying session, Roland Ratzenberger lost his life in a high speed crash. This was shocking and it upset Senna further. He was mentally shattered and was in no mood to race. A colleague gave him the option to go fishing instead but he declined..
Senna was of the opinion that his job was to race and he could not quit halfway. So a dejected Senna took the wheel, crashed heavily against a concrete barrier and a champion driver was no more.
There have been cases of footballers collapsing on the field during a match, boxers being battered to death, basketball stars succumbing to health conditions and athletes struck down while performing. Sometimes top players are killed during training or in freak accidents or being shot dead by disgruntled fans.
There have also been instances of players being killed under unusual circumstances.
The case of a 16-year-old golfer was really strange. The young man got so frustrated with the bad shot he played that he threw a tantrum. He swung around and smashed his club against a bench. The club broke into two and one part pierced his heart and killed him.
The strangest case happened in Congo. An entire team was wiped out due a lightning strike. The reason – metal spikes in their shoes. Strangely, the opposing team was unharmed.
However, this fact did not go very well with the fans who alleged that witchcraft played a part in the destruction of the team.