The Gnarliest Injury Photo Contest

>> Monday, February 15, 2010

Warning: The following contain images of some nasty injuries. If you are currently eating some sort of chowder, you might just barf it all over your keyboard. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

There were nearly 50 entries, with the slight majority of entries being female (I did NOT expect that!). Here’s a reminder of the prizes that these contestants are shooting for:

• The top man and woman will EACH win a Sugoi Zap Vest ($90), Sugoi MidZero Zap Knicker ($75), and a Road ID ($31.50) for a total of nearly $200 of great gear!

• The second place man and woman with EACH win a Sugoi Helium Vest ($80) and a Road ID ($31.50) for a total of over $110 of great gear!

• The third place man and woman will EACH win a Sugoi RSR Mesh Hat ($28) and a Road ID ($31.50) for a total of nearly $60 of great gear!

So that’s $367.50 in prizes to the top 3 men, and $367.50 in prizes to the top 3 women! That’s $735 in sweet gear given out in this giveaway! And if you haven’t picked up on it, all these prizes are reflective or safety oriented, so you can AVOID being injured or hurt in the future! Clever, right? Ha!

And click here to see more on these great prizes.

So, below are the top 10 female entries, and the top 10 male entries. You can vote once for up to your 3 favorite female entries, and once for up to your 3 favorite male entries. So look through these photos and pick out the “gnarliest” 1, 2, or 3 photos, and vote below!!

The Women:

Look through these 10 entries, and vote for your top 1, 2, or 3 favorite images.

“Frayed Faces”

When I first started cycling, I had a fear of downhills. My brothers decided they would cure this by taking me mountain biking. Five minutes in, my wheel hit a tree and my body flew. My lips stuck to the ground but my body kept moving. I tore my lower lip apart from my gums, leaving a gaping hole. In a backwoods Alabama hospital, I got my mouth stitched up and vowed to never ride a mountain bike again.

The look of excitement on my face as we head to the ER

Stitching up the hole

A face only a mother could love

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“Bruising at Pigman”

I raced Pigman in Iowa a few summers ago. They don't actually close the park to traffic, so with a mile to go on the bike I was cut off by a car and went ass over tea-kettle into the pavement. I got up and slowly pedaled into transition, wandered around for a bit, and decided to run. I made it 4m before I DNF’d. Turns out a concussion, fractured ribs and bruised pelvis will make it hard to run...

"Race day road rash" which a very cute med student helped clean the gravel and dirt out of. :)

The lingering bruise on my hip....that bruise and swelling kept me in drawstring/stretchy pants for almost 3wks before I could fit into normal clothes. Yow-za!

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“Recovery Ride Face-Plant”

My crash happened on an easy recovery ride, caused by something in the road or my tire slipping into a crack underneath the leaves. I went over the handlebars going 25mph. I don't remember much except gasping for air and blood. I broke both hinges of my jaw, down the center of my jaw, shattered the bone behind my upper lip, and had major dental damage. My jaw was wired shut for 7 weeks and dental reconstruction over the next 1.5 years.

Drooling blood at the hospital

Following day with massive swelling, brusing, and road rash

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“Disney Marathon Blister”

This picture is from the Disney Marathon, 2008. It was the first and last blister I have ever had. It began about mile 6 and at mile 16 I went to a medical tent and asked what they did for a soon as they said 'take your shoe off'. I said 'okay, thanks' I did finish the race. The blister made it 26.2; on the plane home from Orlando and to then to the doctor for popping!

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“Cross Country Stitches”

While participating in the Living History Farm cross country race in 2009, I tripped on a rock during my 4th or 5th stream crossing and got a nice gash on my shin along with some lovely raised bruises. The picture was taken in urgent care after the shin was cleaned and sutured. I finished the race and didn't really realize how bad the cut was until I was in the shower after the race.

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“No More Toenail”

I slammed my foot into a car tire while unloading my bike from the bike rack after a triathlon because I of course, was dumb enough to wear sandals. The toenail was flapping in the wind and after a nice injection, had to be removed as I couldn't do it myself due to pain. Oh and if you look close in the first picture, you can see the cuticle - still attached. Love it.

Is that what I think it is?

The bloody stump. And no, that's not nailpolish.

Does this bruise make my leg look fat?

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“Poor Little Thumbkin”

I was putting some new gator skin tires on my bike. Gator Skins have a metal bead and they are very, very stiff. I kept pushing and pushing and pushing the tire with my thumb even though it really hurt and even though I KNEW I needed to get some tire levers involved. Poor little thumbkin.

How not to change a flat

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“Nastiness Near the Hinterlands”

I recently participated in my first indoor triathlon. The bike portion of the event was on a spin bike; spin as fast as you can for 30 minutes. This is the inside of my upper, upper thigh (just short of the 'hinterlands') after spinning like mad at 32 mph for 30 minutes. Best part? I have a matching one on the other leg; misery loves company.

Where's that Aquaphor now?

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“Man-Hole Covers Suck”

When REI hosts a garage sale, I’m not one to miss out.

The plan? Run in the dark depths of early morning.
The foe? A giant man-hole cover hidden on the trail.
The result? 12 stitches, almost $4,000 in medical bills, and 2 weeks in an immobilizer.

I missed the sale.
I also ended up crutching myself down 26 flights of stairs using the banisters during a fire alarm the next week.

At least I had an arm workout!

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“New Year’s Eve Sledding Adventure”

On New Year's Eve 2008, we went sledding for some family fun. The conditions were perfect for mach speed. Jenna, 5, took off before we could review a sledding basic: bail off before you hit something. Within seconds, she slid beyond the bottom of the hill into a tangle of brush. Under her helmet lurked the gnarly injury. In the ER, the doctor tweezed twig debris from inside her face and sewed her up with 17 stitches, 3 layers deep. We left the ER as midnight struck. Happy New Year!

[Submitted by Jenna’s Mom]

Family fun in the ER. Ladybug balloons really do have magical healing powers.

The dark spot at the left side of the gash is twigs. Owie!!

She's handling it better than her mom!!

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You can only vote once, but you can select up to 3 to vote for. So select 1, 2, or 3, and make sure to click on “Cast Your Vote” at the bottom of the poll. (UPDATE: voting is closed. Here are the results)

The Men:

Look through these 10 entries, and vote for your top 1, 2, or 3 favorite images.

“Ironman Ride Bike Crash”

Ironman Bike Ride 2007 my dad briefly lost his focus and rubbed his front wheel on my back wheel. I felt the ‘bump’, stayed steady, looked back and saw my dad crash in to the middle of the road (luckily there were no cars behind him or other bikers’). He soldiered on 9 miles (bleeding) to an aid station and medical deemed him unable to ride the rest of the route.

Two IMs later, he’s doing just fine!

[Submitted by his son]

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“9 MPH Crash”

I had just bought a 2009 Scott CR1 Team (my second bike) and was out around my house on a Friday afternoon dialing in the shifting... my computer says I was going 9mph when I hit a broken piece of pavement, falling hard on my left arm. One plate, 8 screws and 24 staples later I came out lighter and stronger in the next triathlon I entered.

"Chicks dig scars" picture

Why I need a special card to go through the airport

About 2 minutes after I woke up after surgery

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“Letting a Car Pass”

I accidentally dropped off the side of the road onto the shoulder to give a car plenty of room to pass me. Not sure what happened next, but 2 compound fractures of my Ulna, one fracture of my Radius, and a concussion were the result.

Result: 63 staples, a couple stitches, 4 plates, 17 screws, broken helmet, couple scratches on the bike.

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“Bumper, Traffic, or Road”

I was riding my bike on the shoulder of the road, wind at my back, 23mph. Car pulls out in front of me at an intersection. I could have eaten the bumper, ditched into traffic, or eaten the road. I chose the road. Result was a lot of road rash, fractured scapula, and numerous stitches. Car never stopped.

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“I-Beam Severs Quad”

While descending on a routine road ride with friends in the North GA Mountains, I lost traction to the rear wheel (gravel) in a tight, left-hand turn. I slammed into a guardrail well over 30 mph. The only thing saving me from soaring off the mountain was the i-beam that punctured my right thigh, severing the top bundle of my right quad. I missed the femoral artery by millimeters, and was evacuated off the mountain via Life Flight helicopter.

Note the i-beam shaped puncture at the top of the wound. The Egyptians used carpenter ants for staples, but my OR doc used 22 surgical stainless.

Road rash on the palm (insert joke here) sucks. ALWAYS wear gloves!

Leaving the hospital with friends, nurse.. and high on meds.

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“Have You Hugged Your Dentist Today?”

This is the before and after photos by my dentist, after a bike crash. Going about 5 Kph.

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“Can I Ride Home, Doc?”

I was out for a training ride, 16 miles to the MTB Trails a 5 mile trail ride then 16 miles back home. I was just cruising along the trails when the next thing I remember was my head hitting the ground. I figured I would need a stitch or two so I rode back 13 miles to the urgent care. 48 stitches later the doctor was willing to let me ride home, but my wife wasn't.

Camara Phone picture taken after arriving at the urgent care

Close up taken 2 days later

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“Drunk Sailor vs. Shower Door”

Sailor on USS Cleveland + Choppy seas = Sliding down a hallway into a glass shower door. Of course he was drunk, he’s a sailor! But he’s my hero! Haha

[Submitted by his wife]

Foot 0, Glass Door 1

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“Barefoot Sprint Injury”

In a full-out barefoot sprint, I stubbed my big toe and snapped it in half. The doctor broke it back into place and now it’s fused together nicely so I can run ultra marathons as if it never happened. Yummy, right?

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“Bike vs. Deer”

Just 5 weeks till Ironman! Reached the top of my favorite hill and started my descent. At 40mph! DEER! No time for brakes! No time to swerve! Next came the sound of smashing carbon fiber tubes as I had T-Boned the dear. The deer and I both ended up lying on the road. While lying in the road there was actually that brief second where we shared eye contact. Many stitches later, a broken foot and a lot of lost skin I was okay. The bike ended up in three pieces. No Ironman this year!

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Again, you can only vote once, but you can select up to 3 to vote for. So select 1, 2, or 3, and make sure to click on “Cast Your Vote” at the bottom of the poll. (UPDATE: voting is closed. Here are the results.)

I hope you made it this far without losing your lunch! Voting is open until Saturday evening, so vote now and tell your friends! A BIG THANKS to Road ID and Sugoi for providing great prizes for the top 3 men and top 3 women!!

Check back on Wednesday for ANOTHER quick giveaway that anyone can enter! No “gnarly injury photo” required!


Trophy Wife 7:21 AM, February 15, 2010  

The next time my husband tries to convince me to buy a road bike, I'm sending him to this blog post. Oh. My. Goodness.

Steve Stenzel 7:28 AM, February 15, 2010  

MN, this shouldn't keep you from biking - this should just remind you to ALWAYS wear a helmet!!

(...and knee pads, and shin guards, and wrist guards, and a bullet-proof vest, and bubble wrap.... )

trihrdrgrl 8:29 AM, February 15, 2010  

I dont even know where to begins to say which is the worst! They are all prett "gnarly!" Wowzer

Jenna 8:48 AM, February 15, 2010  

Next time I go for a ride, I am wrapping up in bubble wrap. I noticed that the men's injuries seemed to involved more stitches, screws and metal thingys to fix em up. Fuuuuuuuuuuuk.

Yanti 9:27 AM, February 15, 2010  

I cried when I saw what happened to that beautiful bike. :P

D 10:35 AM, February 15, 2010  

I feel like Recovery Ride should have submitted a photo of what she actually looks like too... you'd be SHOCKED to see just how much swelling there was (I sure was).

Christi 10:44 AM, February 15, 2010  

Damn those are some really gnarly pics!

Unknown 1:18 PM, February 15, 2010  

ooh emmm geee! Anybody got a vicodin for the sympathy pain I am feeling?

Anonymous,  5:51 PM, February 15, 2010  

I gagged, gurgled and gargled back sobs of sympathy. Holy crap, this is like People of Walmart do trauma-time.

Oxycodone, anybody? Please? My eyes. Oh, my eyes.

teacherwoman 6:28 PM, February 15, 2010  

Seriously... I couldn't look at most of this post. I am still gagging!

Kathy 7:07 PM, February 15, 2010  

I was able to look at about 1/2 the womens' but none of the mens'. I couldn't even vote on the men's because I couldn't look. ugh.

Coach Liz 7:41 PM, February 15, 2010  


There were some girls with worse blisters than you have ever had. The guys photos were hard to choose from. The were much more graphic than the gals. I recognize Bike vs. Deer. That is Spandex King!

Pamela 8:59 PM, February 15, 2010  

But what happened to the deer?

Relentless Forward Commotion 4:53 AM, February 16, 2010  

I just dropped a LOT of money on my first road bike. Now I'm not sure I ever want to take it off the trainer, hahahaha

Spandex King 7:34 AM, February 16, 2010  

I'll never know for sure what happened to the deer. I heard it go in to the woods and then the noise stopped. I assume it wasn't feeling the best either. I went back a week later when I was able, and there was no sign of the deer. So I assume it lived.

PS: I cried about the bike also.

Jes 8:06 AM, February 16, 2010  

Oh there was a lot of cringing and "oh my God!" coming from my desk this morning. Geez!

The Boring Runner 8:42 AM, February 16, 2010  

A-mazing. I took the liberty of COMPLETELY grossing out my wife with these - and then I voted for the one that freaked her out the most.

Heather @ Side of Sneakers 8:53 AM, February 16, 2010  

Dang those are some nasty pictures! Makes me feel lucky I don't have any that could compete with those--yet!

Anonymous,  12:06 PM, February 16, 2010  

Ah, This is spot on! Clarifies
many contradictions I've been hearing.

Anonymous' Brother,  1:11 PM, February 16, 2010  

Sorry about my sister (the last comment). She's high right now.

Greenking17 "TRI-harder" 3:15 PM, February 16, 2010  

Well, looks like so far my picks agree with the gross as it is!

The chick with the purple shirt and the hip bruise has great legs!


Regina 8:26 PM, February 16, 2010  

Holy crap! this is way grosser than I imagined!! the men's injuries...I mean, what can I say? Screws? Plates? Good God!

Brian 8:52 PM, February 16, 2010  

holy crap. At first I thought those were all steve injuries and thought you have worse luck then me. I had a bad wrist fracture but crap nowhere near the double one.

I really feel for these people and their recovery.

Christine 8:06 AM, February 17, 2010  

I kept trying to find the vote section without having to look much at the picture. ding dang! Get me a cocoon!

Missy 12:18 PM, February 17, 2010  

I feel like I'm going to barf, no joke!

TriGirl Kate O 7:46 PM, February 17, 2010  

These pics make me amazed the insurance industry hasn't raised all rates for triathletes or bikers. NASTY. I vote for the toenail--there's something about it that makes it look like a dismembered toe. Yuck.

Dan,  9:24 AM, February 19, 2010  

I don't know about everyone else (I'm "Letting a car pass") but my recovery has gone really well. No infections after surgery, 9 weeks in casts, 3 days of PT/OT, and then some follow ups. My arm looks almost normal again, I have full range of motion in everything, and hopefully next Weds. will be my last visit to the surgeon.

I'm looking forward to spring and biking outdoors a lot.

Jeff 3:31 PM, February 19, 2010  

I'm with you, Dan. (I-beam Severs Quad, here.) 8 weeks of healing and also 3 days a week of PT.

Then the longest ride to date - a century - first time back in the saddle! I felt helpless, all gimped-up and was determined to get my arse back out there ASAP. I was miserable. All better now, glad you are too!

Ride on.

Dan,  9:32 PM, February 19, 2010  

Coffee Run...I can't even imagine trying to come back with a century. I remember trying not to laugh when my surgeon told me I could get back on the bike. I'd already been riding in the cast for a month.

I'm looking forward to my follow up visit next Weds. 7 months later and I *may* be all healed up now. I'm so lucky I got the surgeon I did. If someone else had done it and missed any of the debris in the ends of my bone I might not still have two hands. Instead it's been bone growth stimulator plus 3 total days of OT/PT.

Jeff 8:03 AM, February 22, 2010  


The right surgeon makes all the difference, no? I'm glad to hear you had the right man for the job, and that the bgs is working for you.

I'm headed to trauma nursing/ped.'s so the recovery stories are what it's all about.

Congrats on your recovery - and the win, too! Cheers, Jeff

sRod 6:30 PM, March 10, 2010  

Just getting to this now and I can't even finish looking at the pictures--never mind reading the decriptions to find out what tortures the pictures represent.

Meredith,  11:52 PM, August 01, 2011  

Hmmm... Maybe I am just strange- but not a single one of these disgusted me.

I do feel sympathy for the injured, I just don't think any of the pictures or wounds were... Graphic? Gross? Disturbing? I don't know.

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