20 Athletes Who Overcame Injury and Handicaps Part 2

A list of twenty famous athletes and sports stars who overcame major injuries or handicaps.


11. BEN HOGAN--golf

Golf career appeared to be ended by a near-fatal accident in 1949. Received numerous injuries; surgery for blood clots in legs left circulation impaired. Came back to dominate major tournaments. Won U.S. Open in 1950; Masters and U.S. Open in 1951; Masters, U.S. Open, and British Open in 1953, a theretofore unequaled achievement. Named to PGA Hall of Fame in 1953.

12. JOHN KONRADS--swimming

Became a world champion despite having had polio as a youngster. Discovered by a swimming coach at age 12. Won the gold medal for Australia in the 1,500-meter freestyle in the 1960 Olympics.

13. GENE LITTLER--golf

A consistent tournament winner, one of the few golfers to win both the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open (1953 and 1961, respectively). Underwent surgery for cancer of the lymph glands in the spring of 1972; was back on the tour in October. Won over $95,000 in 1973. Received Golf Writers' Award for courageous comeback and the Ben Hogan Award, given by the USGA for distinguished sportsmanship.

14. JACK PARDEE--football

Distinguished career as linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams interrupted in 1964 by skin cancer on the arm. Came back to the Rams in 1966. Was later traded to the Washington Redskins, for whom he became head coach in 1978.

15. RICK RHODEN--baseball

Crippled with osteomyelitis as a youngster. Wore a brace on his right leg for three years, then walked with a cane. Drafted as a pitcher by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Came up in 1974; earned a place in the starting rotation in 1976.

16. WILMA RUDOLPH--track

Stricken with scarlet fever and double pneumonia at age 4, lost use of left leg. Learned to walk at age 7; took up track at 12. Won three gold medals in the sprints in the 1960 Olympics, setting an Olympic record in the 100-meter dash.

17. O. J. SIMPSON--football

AS a youth, suffered from rickets, a calcium deficiency. Wore braces for several years; disease left bowed. Won the Heisman Trophy in 1968 after outstanding career at the University of Southern California. Holds all-time pro rushing record of 2,003 yd. in single season.

18. DAVE STALLWORTH--basketball

A two-time All-American and first-round draft choice of the New York Knicks. Suffered a heart attack at end of second pro season. Came back after two years; played all 82 games for the Knicks in 1970.

19. KAROLY TAKACS--pistol shooting

The champion Hungarian marksman lost his right hand in 1938; learned to shoot with his left. Won gold medals in 1948 and 1952 Olympics.

20. BILL TALBERT--tennis

Diagnosed as diabetic at age 9 in 1928, when prescribed treatment was total inactivity to conserve energy. At age 13 took up tennis after he convinced his father and his doctors to allow him to participate in active sports. Won a total of 33 national championships, 30 of them in doubles.

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