There are few things sadder in sports than when a beloved athlete passes away. Whether it be old age, disease or illness, sports fans are often left sad and nostalgic when news hits of an old star dying. However, there is nothing more harrowing than when an athlete passes away during a game, event or match. Thankfully this rarely happens in most sports in the modern day, but here are three horrific examples when it did.
1. Dale Earnhardt
This is one of the most tragic moments in the history of Nascar and was a monumental shock to everyone. At the Daytona 500 in 2001, Earnhardt was cruising to a victory over the field, which included his son Dale Earnhardt Jr. However, on the last lap, Earnhardt’s car hit a wall and the decorated racer later died as a result of his injuries sustained in the crash. It was this event that led Nascar to make a rule that required head and neck support devices in each and every car on race day.
2. Bill Masterton
In the long history of the NHL and all the hard hits and brutal injuries that have occurred, there has been only one death and that was the passing of Bill Masterton. Masteron passed away after a big hit by two defenders caused him to fall back on the ice and hit his head, which led to a severe internal brain injury and later, death. Masterton has been remembered by the NHL with the “Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy” which is given to the player that best exemplifies sportsmanship, dedication and perseverance. This death also sparked the talk to helmets in the NHL as few players wore them during the time when Masterton played.
3. Owen Hart
Almost every wrestling fan would tell you this was among one of the darkest moments in the history of the sport. Owen Hart was among the top wrestlers of the 1990’s and was a fan favorite. Unfortunately, during an elaborate ring entrance to a match at Over the Edge PPV in 1999, he died. The entrance was supposed to have him lowered from the ring and then fall a short distance for comedic effect. Unfortunately, while moving around in the harness, Hart accidently released the quick release and sent him plummeting down from the rafters and he later died from the injuries sustained.