Look away now: The 5 most horrific injuries in sports history (GRAPHIC)

Professional athletes often expose themselves to danger in their attempts to push themselves to the limit and reach the pinnacle of their sport.

RT Sport takes a look at five athletes who sustained gruesome injuries during their endeavors.

1. Samir Ait Said – Broken leg, artistic gymnastics

French gymnast Samir Ait Said suffered a horrific broken leg while performing an extremely difficult vault in the men’s qualifying session at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

After a poorly landed vault, Said’s left leg collapsed beneath him, and the athlete fell to the floor holding his leg below the knee, while his foot and the lower part of his shin were hanging in the opposite direction.

It was later revealed that Said had sustained an open-double fracture of the tibia and fibula.

The 27-year old, who has since fully recovered from the injury, plans to return to competition by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

2. Figure skating: Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison

Canadian figure skater Jessica Dube needed 80 stitches to repair severe facial lacerations on her left cheek and nose when her face was slashed by her partner Bryce Davison’s skate blade while performing parallel spins in the free program at the 2007 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.

The following season, the pair won their first Grand Prix medals, including gold at 2007-08 Skate America. They also took bronze at the 2008 World Championships, finishing second in the free program.

3. NFL: Marcus Lattimore

Marcus Lattimore was arguably the best college football running back who played for the University of South Carolina when in 2012, he took a hit during a game against Tennessee.

His knee completely dislocated, effectively ending his career, as the player never recuperated from the horrific injury.

The San Francisco 49ers NFL franchise selected him in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, but he never played a game for the team, spending the entire season on the bench.

At the age of 23, he made the decision to retire as his post-injury form was a far cry from the stunning college performances that had made him a rising star.

4. Football: Paulo Diogo

On December 5, 2004, Servette FC player Paulo Diogo scored a goal in an away game against FC Schaffhausen. During the raucous celebrations, the player jumped up on the metal segregation barrier.

Diogo had got married shortly before the match, and didn’t notice that his wedding ring had got caught in the barrier. When he jumped off, the ring ripped off most of his finger, leaving it hanging on the fence.

5. Ice hockey: Clint Malarchuk

In 1989, Buffalo Sabres goalie Clint Malarchuk was slashed in the neck during a game against the St. Louis Blues.

At the beginning of the first period, Steve Tuttle of the Blues collided with Sabres defenseman Uwe Krupp right in front of Malarchuk’s net, causing Tuttle's skate blade to hit the goalkeeper’s neck, cutting his carotid artery.

When Malarchuk pulled his helmet off, blood squirted from his neck and spattered the faceoff circle.

The injury could have been fatal if not for the actions of the Sabres coach Jim Pizzutelli, who had coincidentally studied sports medicine after returning from the Vietnam War. Pizzutelli, along with team doctors, performed first aid before an ambulance arrived at the stadium.

Malarchuk, who had lost 1.5 liters of blood and had 300 stitches to his neck, returned to action just 10 days later.

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