Athletes Whose Careers Ended Too Soon People In Sports

Athletes Whose Careers Ended Too Soon

originally by  21,925 votes 2,244 voters 210,864 views 136 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Only athletes whose career was cut short by injury or worse

This list of athletes whose careers ended too soon includes dozens of promising athletes who for one reason or another were forced to leave the sports they loved well before they should have. Their stories are often tragic and leave their family members, teammates, opponents and fans wondering what could have happened had their careers continued. Sadly, we'll never know the answer to that one as these athletes all left their respective sports prematurely.

Some of the greatest players to ever compete in sports like football, basketball, hockey and baseball were forced into retirement due to an injury. Even others were taken not only from professional sports but also from this life following a tragic incident which caused their death. Be it an injury or a complete loss of life, all of these athletes had plenty left to give but a catastrophic event changed all that.

For many of these players, retiring at the top of their game was their decision after repeated injuries made it difficult to compete at a top level. Legendary Boston Bruins hockey player Bobby Orr, NBA star Yao Ming and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Troy Aikman are just a few who fall into that category. Others suffered a one-time injury, sometimes on national television during a big game, that gave them no choice but to retire. Joe Theismann, a legendary National Football League quarterback, fell into that category following what is perhaps the most memorable hit in league history.

While those players retired and often remained in the sport in a broadcasting role, others were not so lucky. Sadly, this list also includes athletes who died suddenly during their professional athletic careers. Those stories are heartbreaking, such as the up-and-coming Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart who was killed by a drunk driver and NFL-player turned U.S. Army soldier Pat Tillman who was killed serving his country.

As hard as it is to find something positive from these career-ending tragedies, each of them have raised awareness about ways that incidents like this can be prevented in the future. I can't think of any better way to honor these fine athletes than making the world a brighter place.

List Photo: user uploaded image
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    the people's #1 & most listed
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    Died at 38 (1903-1941)

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    Died at 38 (1934-1972)

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    Died at 28 (1976-2004)

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    Died at 32 (1947-1979)

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    Died at 27 (1943-1970)

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    Died at 72 (1921-1993)

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    Died at 33 (1967-2000)

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    Died at 23 (1963-1986)

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    Died at 42 (1957-1999)

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    age 56

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    Died at 23 (1967-1990)

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    Died at 45 (1945-1990)

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    Died at 24 (1983-2007)

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    added by KirkSaw
    Died at 24 (1939-1963)

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    often listed & added by KirkSaw
    Died at 55 (1954-2009)

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    often listed & added by dsylvia
    Died at 28 (1965-1993)

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    Died at 64 (1887-1951)

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    age 35

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    often listed & added by bojanthebest
    Died at 28 (1950-1978)

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    Died at 24 (1951-1975)

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    Died at 34 (1955-1989)

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    added by KirkSaw
    age 68

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    added by willyboymcoy
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    Died at 64 (1910-1974)

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