Kelly Clarkson once said, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and we think she just might be right. These women faced challenging injuries and setbacks during their professional careers but came back on top. Not only did they heal, but they also came to raise hell! We are incredibly inspired by these badass women and you should be too.
Serena Williams and tennis are a match made in heaven! Although her chronic injuries are far less than heavenly. Williams suffered from recurring shoulder and knee injuries throughout her entire career. In 2015 and 2016, her condition was so severe she had to drop out of tournaments. Williams’s comeback was stronger than ever, she went on to win the Australian Open in 2017 and set the all-time record for grand slam singles titles.
What hasn’t Sue Bird done? I’ll tell you what, allow her injuries to hinder her success. Bird has had over five surgeries on her knee, hip, and nose. Bird’s injuries were so bad that in 2017, she missed the beginning of the season. Bird has gone on to win WNBA championships, four Olympic gold medals, and led the WNBA in assists three times. She was even voted as one of the WNBA’s Top 15 Players of All Time.
Can anyone say plot twist? Kerri Strug had the audience at the edge of their seats during the 1996 Summer Olympics. While performing her routine, Strug landed incorrectly resulting in an injury on her left ankle. With only minutes to bring her team to victory, she completed her second attempt flawlessly securing enough points for the win.
Bethany Hamilton is a shark attack survivor who triumphed after tragedy struck. At the time, she was only 13 years old when a tiger shark attack took her left arm. Hamilton said goodbye to her past and aloha to her future. She was back in the water just a month after the injury. In 2004, Hamilton entered her first competition since the attack and placed within the top five.
Referring to Venus Williams health issues as a minor setback is an understatement. Williams is battling Sjogren’s Syndrome, which is a debilitating autoimmune condition that very well could have ended her career. She’s dedicated herself to not only surviving with this condition but thriving. Williams has been named number one by the Women’s Tennis Association on three separate occasions. Considering the cards she’s been dealt, Williams has aced it.
You might’ve thought after Lindsey Vonn’s horrible accident during the 2006 Olympics that her career was going downhill, however she was back on the slopes within 48 hours. Vonn suffered a fractured ankle, concussion, sliced open thumb, broken arms, torn knee ligaments, and more. However, since then, she’s gone on to win four World Cup overall championships and more.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias
Babe Didrikson Zaharias was a force to be reckoned with. Zaharias was excellent in golf, basketball, baseball and track and field. She even won two gold medals in track and field at the 1932 Summer Olympics, before she directed her focus on professional golf. Zaharias went on to win 10 LPGA major championships and is thought of as one of the greatest female athletes of all time. Her opponents’ chances weren’t the only thing she beat; she also beat colon cancer in 1954. Fourteen months after undergoing surgery for cancer, she earned a record winning 12-stroke at the U.S. Women’s Open.