Five years ago at this time, Australian tennis player Mark Philippoussis
was in the final at Wimbledon, where he lost to Roger Federer
for Federer's first Grand Slam title.
Now Philippoussis is spending more time surfing than playing tennis. He'd probably be better off staying out of the ocean and on the court.Australia's Daily Telegraph is reporting
that Philippoussis was surfing off Bells Beach when things took a turn for the worse:
he got into trouble in the turbulent waters before being dragged into a sea cave while his board was smashed in half, the Nine Network said tonight.
Philippoussis' ordeal began when he paddled out of Winki Pop beach, between Bells Beach and Torquay, on the Surf Coast, southwest of Melbourne, this morning....
"He got swept down, broke his board and took refuge in a cave for, like, two hours, had all his feet cut up and he hurt his hip," [a witness said].
Philippousis is recovering from hip and foot injuries at his parents' home.
Mark Philippoussis' surfing expedition in Australia takes a turn for the worst on Thursday. The former tennis star nearly dies when turbulent waters smash his board in half and drag him into a sea cave. Philippoussis isn't the only athlete who has come face-to-face with a near-death experience though.
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Paul Pierce, star of the Celtics and NBA Finals MVP, was stabbed 11 times in the face, neck, and back during an altercation in 2000 at a Boston nightclub. Pierce had to undergo lung surgery to repair the damage, but remarkably started all 82 games of the 2000-01 season.
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Former NBA center Manute Bol had to overcome many obstacles throughout his career, but nothing compared to a horrific taxi cab crash in 2004 that left Bol with a broken neck and killed the driver. Bol also had to persevere through financial distress because of the medical expenses.
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Motorcross rider Travis Pastrana has lived on the edge for most of his adult life. During a 1998 event, Pastrana jumped a 120-foot ramp and came up short. The brutal crash separated his spine from his pelvis and left him in a coma for two weeks. At the time, Pastrana said that doctors informed him only three people in the U.S. have ever lived after this kind of injury.
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Former NBA player and streetball legend Slick Watts nearly died in 2001 when he contracted sarcoidosis, an inflammation of the lungs. Complications caused him to waste away to 126 pounds and he was hospitalized for 22 days. "I was two seconds from the Holy Land," Watts said.
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Last year, NFL running back Fred Taylor was a passenger on an unforgettable flight along with two other players in Africa. The plane door on the single-propeller, 15-seat plane that Taylor was aboard flew open at around 6,000 feet, causing panic before the pilot landed at a nearby runway. "I thought that was it," Taylor said. "I put my head down and started praying."
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England soccer player Lee Hendrie was lucky to be alive when his sports car was "ripped apart" in a motorway crash in 2000. Hendrie was taken to a local hospital after the accident and later discharged without injury.
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Offensive lineman LeCharles Bentley had one of the most grueling recoveries in NFL history following a serious knee injury in 2006. Bentley underwent four operations for the injury, the final two to clean out a staph infection and a virus that became so severe that doctors considered amputating his leg. Bentley recently asked for and was granted his release from the Browns.
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