It’s not out of the ordinary to see a basketball player fall to the ground holding his face after taking a hard foul. But more often than not, that player is just trying to sell the foul to a referee. He’s usually not in that much pain, and as soon as he realizes the ref has blown the whistle and called a foul, he’s magically able to get up off the ground and step to the free-throw line without any issues.
That was not the case for Akil Mitchell during a recent National Basketball League game in Australia. Mitchell, who played at the University of Virginia before later joining the New Zealand Breakers, got hit in the face by a defender while going up for a rebound against the Cairns Taipans. And it resulted in one of the most gruesome injuries you will ever see.
The defender caught Mitchell in the eye when he was going for the rebound, and he hit him so hard that his eyeball actually popped out of its socket. Mitchell collapsed to the floor in obvious pain, and a TV camera captured him writhing around with his eye sticking out of his head. No other replays were shown—THANK YOU, TV PRODUCERS—but the game had to be halted for 15 minutes while Mitchell was helped up and taken off the court.
Amazingly, Mitchell didn’t sustain any major damage to his eye as a result of the hit he took. Despite the fact that his eye was literally hanging out of its socket, he still has vision and the Breakers general manager told the New Zealand Herald that "early reports are very positive that the injury is not as serious as first feared."
Mitchell also managed to have some fun at his own expense by sending out this tweet early Thursday morning:
Serious or not, that’s one of the most gruesome injuries we’ve ever seen. And we don’t ever want to see it again. If you’ve got the stomach for it, you can check it out in the clip above.