When Sports Celebrations Go Wrong: Edwin Diaz Joins a Long List of Unlucky Athletes

The New York Mets lost star closer Edwin Diaz for the entire 2023 season after he tore his patellar tendon while celebrating Puerto Rico’s 5-2 victory over the Dominican Republic at the World Baseball Classic.

Of course, Diaz is not the only athlete who suffered unexpected consequences in the celebration of the moment.

Having said that, here’s a look back at five such occasions when sports celebrations went wrong.

Kendrys Morales (MLB)

What should have been a memorable afternoon turned devastating for former Los Angeles Angels first baseman Kendrys Morales. After hitting a walk-off grand slam during a May 29th game against the Seattle Mariners, Morales broke his lower left leg while jumping onto home plate. The injury forced the Cuban native to miss the remainder of the 2010 season and all of 2011.

Bill Gramatica (NFL)

Of the severe injuries incurred on the NFL field of battle, kickers are not generally found on the list of casualties. That wasn’t the case in 2001, however, when Arizona Cardinals kicker Bill Gramatica jumped in celebration after making a field goal, only to tear the ACL in his plant leg on the landing. One has to wonder what triggered Gramatica’s jump for joy – the Cardinals were 5-7 at the time, the rookie’s field goal giving Arizona a measly 3-0 lead in the first quarter. 

Gus Frerotte (NFL)

Quarterback Gus Frerotte spent 15 years in the National Football League, being named to the Pro Bowl in 1996. However, Frerotte’s career is best remembered for a peculiar end zone celebration in which he rammed his head against a padded cement wall after scoring a touchdown. The Tulsa alum left the game, was taken to the hospital, and diagnosed with a sprained neck.

Cody Bellinger (MLB)

Former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger had one of the biggest hits of his career during the 2020 postseason, a go-ahead home run in Game 7 of the NLCS. But it was his celebration afterward that left a more lasting impression when he forearm smashed teammate Kike Hernandez. The impact dislocated Belligner’s shoulder, leaving his status for the World Series in doubt. The former NL MVP was able to partake but required off-season arthroscopic labrum surgery and has been in decline ever since.

Paulo Diogo (Soccer)

The most gruesome injury on this list belongs to Swiss soccer player Paulo Diogo. Diogo, who had just gotten married at the time, hopped on a metal fence to celebrate setting up his team’s third goal. Failing to notice his wedding ring was caught in the barrier, the then 29-year-old jumped back down, losing the ring and the majority of his finger in the process. To make matters worse, Diogo received a yellow card for delay of game. The midfielder had to have his finger amputated but resumed his playing career.