Lynn Walsh, Multimedia Editor~

In Sunday’s El Clasico finals, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi scored his 500th goal to give his team the win over Real Madrid.

Previously in the game, Messi scored another goal with a wad of tissue in his mouth from getting knocked around. The pictures are pretty funny, but it just goes to show how tough these athletes are. This got me thinking of other sports-related injuries that weren’t going to stop athletes (or coaches) from finishing the game:

  1. Washington Capitals’ coach Barry Trotz was hit in the head with a flying puck earlier this season against Toronto. Trotz didn’t miss a beat and shrugged off the incident. Just another day at the office.
  2. 1996 Olympian Kerri Strug nailed her vault in team finals to give her team the gold but only after spraining her ankle on the first vault. She landed her second vault on one foot, and the image of Coach Bela Karolyi carrying her off the floor has since become iconic.
  3. Tiger Woods won the 2008 U.S. Open with a fractured tibia and stress fracture. Sources close to Woods said the pain only got worse with each hole, but Woods was determined to win.
  4. The name Clint Malarchuk might not sound familiar, but odds are you’ve heard about his injury. Malarchuk, a goalie for the 1989 Buffalo Sabres, had his throat slit by an opposing player’s skate blade. The trainers basically saved his life on the ice, and he returned to play just four days later. No big deal or anything.
  5. Columbus Blue Jackets rookie Zach Werenski got hit in the face during last week’s Game 4 battle against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He returned to the game for the last period with a facemask that protected two broken bones. Werenski posted a selfie of the injury with his right eye barely open because of the bruising.

    Illustration by Genevieve Griffin

Three out of the five injuries above are hockey-related. There’s a saying that hockey players are just wired differently.

The truth is that any athlete that wants it bad enough can come back to finish what they started. But unless you’re vaulting for the Olympic gold within the next minute, it’s probably best to wait for a doctor’s approval to return to the game.

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