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College Stars Who Suffered Injuries That Ended Their Sports Careers

Written by Jimmy Rustling

Zion Williamson is a star in the NBA, but before going pro, he was a god-like figure in college basketball, even as a freshman for the Duke Blue Devils. His standout play in college resulted in him being chosen with the first pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, though his rookie campaign was cut short due to injury.

In college, he suffered a scary-looking knee injury that could’ve cut his NBA aspirations short. Fortunately, he was only sidelined for two months as he recuperated from a Grade 1 knee sprain. While Zion has not played his NBA season, as he gets back into playing shape, his story was able to continue past college. For some, this is not a reality.

What other college athletes have had their careers cut short due to an injury? There’s a long list of aspiring amateur athletes who were on the verge of greatness, only to have their hopes and dreams shattered by a freak injury.

As with any injury, you should always consult with an injury attorney Paterson NJ to discover the chances you have of winning a settlement. This rings especially true to an athlete who was expected to play professionally as a career. They could recover both lost and futuring earnings as part of a settlement.

Below are just a few athletes who seemed destined for stardom as a pro, but were injured severely.

Derrick Roland, college basketball

Before sustaining a horrific leg injury during his senior year at Texas A&M, the college guard was a defensive standout who many believed would make it to the NBA. Taking place just days before Christmas in 2009, the shooting guard would fracture his tibia and fibula bones. There’s a video of the incident that is difficult to watch to this day. As an Aggie, he was averaging 10.5 points and shooting a solid 50% from the field. Roland would never make it to the NBA, but did play in various overseas pro leagues.

Tyrone Prothro, college football

Tyrone Prothro was not the stereotypical receiver prospect while playing for Alabama, standing at just 5-foot-9, but he was a standout in the early 2000s for the Crimson Tide. He racked up more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage and was considered a top special teams player in the country. In 2006, Prothro was even given honors for Best Play during the ESPYs that year.

Unfortunately, his NFL hopes were taken away when he broke his leg during a game against Florida in October 2005. After pulling down a catch, he broke the two major bones in his leg as he landed. He would undergo more than 10 surgeries, but his leg was unable to be repaired fully, thus ending his football career.

Kevin Ware, college basketball

Ware, a former standout at Louisville, was involved in one of the most devastating basketball injuries. Ware sustained a compound fracture during a 2013 NCAA Tournament game against Duke, where his bone protruded from his right leg. He went up for a block and landed awkwardly, making for a gruesome sight for everyone watching.

Ware would eventually recover and transfer to Georgia State, where he did actually play well. However, scouts didn’t look at him the same after such a severe injury. He went undrafted and would play pro ball overseas.

Burt Reynolds, college football

Yes, this is the same Burt Reynolds who would go on to become a successful actor. Before his days as an actor, he was nearly an All-American running back for the Florida State Seminoles. However, if he hadn’t had issues with his knees and been involved in a serious car accident, he may have gone top 10 in the NFL Draft, as most believed.

In the opening game of his sophomore season, Reynolds injured his knee. Then, as he was recovering from the injury, he further hurt his knee in a car crash the next year. This ultimately ended his potential NFL career.

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About the author

Jimmy Rustling

Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.