- 08/02/2010, 04:24PM ET
Biakaba: Family Jules said 08/02, 04:24 PM
I thought of a few, but the one I kept coming back to was Chucky Mullins.
In 1989, he shattered 4 vertebrae making a tackle against Vanderbilt. He was paralyzed from the neck down and passed away two short years later.
If there was ever a reminder of how violent the game of football can be, Mullins injury is just that. His was the worst case scenario.
He was an undersized kid with great heart who convinced his coaches at first through words and then through his play at Ole Miss that he belonged on the field. He had all the intangibles that make a star.
Unfortunatley, the injury derailed his life. He kept a positive attitude after, always being a teammate and friend to those around him. But, his injury was so significant, he died two months before his 20th b-day from blood clots.
His legacy does live on through the Chucky Mullins Courage Award that is given out every year to a deserving student athlete, but this was a life that had much to offer on and off the football field and was never lived to its full potential.
I remember when it happened, I've seen the hit and its one of the most graphic depictions of the dangers of football you could ever see.
Chosen1 said 08/03, 03:47 PM
Honestly I think is probably the toughest time I have had making a decision yet for a throwdown.....
After giving it some thought for this throwdown I am going to take the death of Duk Koo Kim caused by injuries during a boxing match with Ray Mancini in 1982
Duk Koo Kim
See now for me when I think of something as being tragic I think of the overall impact it had upon others and this is what ultimately led me to making my choice.
For those not familiar with him he was a 23 year old boxer from South Korea who died just 4 days after having lost a fight to Ray Mancini in the 14th round of a 15 round fight.
Duk Koo Kim at the time was engaged and a father to be so his child never got to know his father for not even for a day. Within in just 8 months of his death his mother and the referee of the match had both committed suicide.
It was a fight that changed Mancini's career and still haunts Mancini to this day. It even impacted the life of Mancini's daughter to the point that at the age of 8 years old she came home crying because a child at her school kept calling her dad a murderer.
So my choice is Duk Koo Kim
Biakaba: Family Jules said 08/03, 04:02 PM
It's a little hard to argue my point here. Both of these men left behind a life and a wake of grief. I'm not going to try to diminsh your choice. I will give out some points as to why I think Mullins was more tragic.
In boxing, nothing is guranteed. These guys go fist a cuffs for 15 rounds and suffer all sorts of injuries. Ali's Parkinsons is believed to be a direct result from his boxing career. Mancini was a hell of a fighter with a strong right. Kim had to train his **** off to get into a situation to fight Boom Boom.
What I'm saying is, death is more of a reality in boxing than in NCAA football. The fact that Mullins as an 18 year old kid ran up to make a play on Brad Gaines, the Vandy FB, and shattered 4 vertabrae is a bit more of a freak accident than someone falling and hitting their head in a boxing match.
Kim had gotten to live much of his life, been married and was on the verge of being a father. Mullins was a kid just starting out. He never got to reach his dreams of maybe an NFL career or his academic pursuits.
Both of these instances were tragic. Kim's happened with him reaching his goal of fighting Mancini, Mullins happened on a routine tackle.
Chosen1 said 08/04, 06:20 AM
So you say that in boxing nothing is guaranteed?
In the April 29th 1991 edition of Sports Illustrated they listed the number of football related deaths for each year from 1967 until 1990.
Mullins injury happened in 1989 so we will look at just 1967 to 1988 and during that period there was 286 football related deaths in the United States. That is just deaths and does not include major life and career altering injuries that did not result in death.
Tell the family of those 286 people that death in football is not a reality or how about you tell a guy like Darryl Stingley's (paralyzed in 78) family that major injuries are not a reality of football.
Mullins was 18 but Kim was only 23 and far from old. Kim had not reached his goals he left behind an unborn child and a pregnant fiance. His boxing career was still supposed to go on despite that loss.
Both picks were young men but Kim's was more tragic in the fact that it left a kid without a father, it resulted in the suicides of two others which had an impact on their families, it changed the life of Mancini and it ended not only the career but the life of a promising young athlete.
Biakaba: Family Jules said 08/04, 11:48 AM
286 deaths in a sport that encompasses hundreds of thousands of athletes playing from Pop Warner - NFL in a 21 year period is pretty good odds. I'm not diminshing the loss of life, but, if you equated how many of those deaths were from heat stroke, dehydration, pre-existing medical conditions and contact injuries, its probably pretty even across the board for the 286 deaths.
How many boxers are in a particular weight class at any one time competing on a pro level? Maybe 12 per weight class? Since sanctioned boxing started there have been 37 deaths in the ring. I'd say the percentages on danger go to boxing considering those statistics are only counted on a pro level and come from punches and falls rather than other sources.
Both of these men had people counting on them. I'd say inner city kids have more at stake with making a difference for their families monitarily than most other social classes. When Chucky got paralyzed the hopes of his families financial future died along with his ability to move.
Brad Gaines maintains Mullins' grave site daily as he has never gotten past it. As a parent, I know his mom and dad have not moved on.
Good TD, Chosen...
Chosen1 said 08/04, 04:40 PM
How many boxers are in a particular weight class at any one time competing on a pro level? Maybe 12 per weight class?
Really only 12 per weight class? Talk about being way off.....
There is this site I like to use called boxrec it is a pretty popular site amongst boxing fans. Well they have a ratings section for 17 different weight classes.
In total boxrec ranks 16,268 different pro boxers from around the world listed as being active and even they dont list everyone. Just for American heavyweights they rank 428 but you say there is only 12 per weight class?
You want to play the inner city angle? Kim's parents were not some well off family they were rice and ginseng farmers. Kim left home at 14 and was once making a living selling gum on the streets and shining shoes. Does that sound like a guy who was rolling in the money? He had a family just like Mullins did but he also had an unborn baby that would need financial support.
A 23 year old dead, a mother dead, a ref dead, another boxer forever haunted by the fight, and a child that never got to know her father....
ummm yea I am still going with Kim
good td Biakaba
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