The Quick 10: 10 Non-Athlete Sports Injuries

It's not uncommon for sports stars to get hurt in the line of duty, obviously (Colt McCoy, anyone?). It's a little more unusual when a spectator gets taken out - I had a friend who got pelted in the elbow with a line drive at a minor league baseball game. Here are some innocent and not-so-innocent bystanders, plus a couple of refs who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

1. Those foul balls can be dangerous. Last summer, a man leaned over the railing at a Cardinals-Pirates baseball game to try to flag down a ground foul hit by a Pirates batter. He leaned a little too far and tumbled over the railing and fell onto the clay track below. Don't worry "“ he ended up being fine, and got to meet the Cardinals' first baseman Albert Pujols in the process (mental_floss does not recommend this as a method to meet your favorite baseball players).

2. I've often wondered how football referees avoid accidentally finding themselves on the wrong end of a tackle. As it turns out, they don't always. In October, ref Richard Reels couldn't predict which way Viking Jeff Dugan was headed and got pretty well laid out on the turf. He was shaken, but OK "“ you can see him get plowed over at about 00:15 in the following video, but he did end up walking off of the field by himself.

3. Sadly, things don't always turn out for the best. You might remember teenager Brittanie Cecil "“ her death made news in 2002 when she was hit in the head by a stray puck at an NHL game between the Calgary Flames and the Columbus Blue Jackets.

4. Forget getting hit with a baseball "“ getting hit with an out-of-control bat could really inflict some damage. Susan Rhodes can attest to that. She was enjoying a Dodgers game and was following the arc of the ball, like most fans would, and didn't see the splintered end of the maple bat headed directly toward her face. Her jaw was shattered, requiring four screws and a titanium plate. "From now on, I'm going to Lakers games," Rhodes later quipped.

5. Obviously the drivers at NASCAR events are at risk of crashing, but spectators should also watch out when debris from those crashes go flying toward the crowd. A group of seven fans learned that the hard way at the Talladega Speedway last year. There's a "catch fence" between the track and the fans, and while it stopped the car itself from slamming into the audience, it didn't stop all of the little pieces. None of the injuries were life-threatening, but one of the injured fans did suffer a broken jaw.

6. Soccer stampedes that end up killing folks who get caught in the shuffle are not as uncommon as you might think. There's a whole sad list of them here, and one just recently happened in South Africa that killed 43 people.

7. Another ref fell victim to his job late last year when he got pounded in the head with a soccer ball aimed for the goal. He collapsed to the ground unconscious immediately and received first aid on the field before being rushed to a nearby hospital. He remained hospitalized for several days due to his head trauma.

8. OK, some fans have it coming. "Dozens" of fans crammed themselves into a homemade wooden pirate ship during a game for the Canadian Junior Football League's Vancouver Island Raiders when a railing cracked, sending two "pretty intoxicated" fans plummeting nearly 20 feet. Apparently the drunken duo received minor injuries and the Raiders went on to win the championship.

9. Even cheerleaders aren't safe. In November, an Oregon Ducks cheerleader was hit in the head with a nearly-full water bottle thrown by a rowdy fan when the Ducks beat Arizona in overtime. Katelynn Johnson was hit on the sideline, stumbled onto the field and fainted.

10. A stinky, used athletic shoe is totally worth breaking your neck for, right? Some fans sure think so. Two men were fighting over a shoe thrown into the crowd at the end of a St. Louis Rams game just a few weeks ago, when the heat of the moment took them over the railing and onto an awning. The awning couldn't bear the weight of two grown men, and it collapsed onto the concrete ground.

Have any of you ever been the victim of a ball lost in the sun or a splintered bat? Share your story in the comments.

10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.



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