Joe Theismann and the Break Seen Round the World

Joe Theismann was an MVP and Super Bowl-winning quarterback for the Washington Redskins who was known around the league as a fierce competitor. However, in 1985, Theismann’s career came to shocking end during a nationally-televised Monday Night Football game against the rival New York Giants. The injury has become infamous as one of the most unforgettable sports injuries ever.

What Happened?

The Washington Redskins were 5-5 coming into their week 11 matchup against the New York Giants. The two teams had been playing each other regularly since the 1930’s, and enjoyed a fierce rivalry. During a “flea-flicker” play, two Giants, Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson, sacked Joe Theismann. The weight of the two players, as well as the rest of the Giants that landed on the pile, snapped a compound fracture of Theismann’s tibia and fibula. Theismann has described it snapping “like a breadstick”. Taylor quickly realized something was wrong and immediately began waving the Redskins medical staff over to the brutally injured Theismann. Theismann has never shied away from talking about the incident (and even seems to enjoy relating it in interviews) but the injury shocked and horrified millions who watched it unfold live on television. Even Lawrence Taylor, the legendary linebacker who caused the injury, says “he’s never seen the video and never wants to.”

How Did He Recover?

It didn’t take long for Joe Theismann to realize that he would never play football again. The recovery was extremely difficult, involving multiple surgeries and physical therapy. In fact, the injury has left one of his legs shorter than the other, leading to unexpected personal difficulties in addition to the injury itself. Since the injury, Theismann has enjoyed a lengthy career in business and television, including working as a broadcaster for Monday Night Football, where he suffered his career-ending injury all those years ago.

This injury made it onto our worst sports injuries video database! Check out the rest of the entries here, and see how many you can get through without cringing!

Baxter and Walsh Physical Therapy has helped dozens of athletes recover from injuries of all kinds. We have two locations on Long Island to serve you. Visit our contact page or call one of our two locations to schedule an appointment today.