by Ian Fortey
We're not quite sure how it happened, but somehow over the years, "pain endurance" became synonymous with "manly". Yes, it's idiotic, but it doesn't change the fact that nothing is more badass than seeing an action hero take a bullet and then just walk it off. Well, Hollywood can make all the Die Hard sequels it wants -- they'll never live up to the real life people who displayed this real life badassery ...
The 6200 Mile Gunshot Wound
If you get shot, you should see a doctor. Just ... trust us on that. Even in terms of trying to be a tough badass, if you survive a gunshot wound, that's enough of a story on its own; you don't need to drag this thing out any more. But tell that to Caleb Stevens, who showed up at Chicago's Northwest Memorial Hospital with a barely treated bullet hole in his leg. The wound was a week old at this point. And it happened on the other side of the planet when he was in Syria.
Stevens had been overseas as a volunteer, fighting with a Kurdish militia against ISIS. How does a person get wrapped up in a job like that? In this case, Stevens wanted to serve not just his country but humanity. After dropping out of the military academy at West Point, he wandered the globe, working and learning, including learning the Kurdish language, before making his way to Syria.
"Wanna play catch?"
The stories of the YPG (the Kurdish militia that was fighting ISIS on the ground) really spoke to Stevens. In his mind, they were the only people really doing something to help the citizens there. He read in a Rolling Stone article in 2017 that they were accepting volunteers, and that's all it took.
How does an American with no experience even get in touch with rebels in Syria? Facebook. He sent them a Facebook message. War may be hell, but it's also super easy these days.
After training on old Soviet weapons, Stevens was in the field with a group of diverse soldiers, pushing forward to the front lines. It was some time before he saw any serious combat, but once he did, in the town of Abu Hamam, he slipped up. Under constant enemy fire, Stevens fled a position before going back to retrieve his rifle. Sniper fire tore into his leg, fracturing bone and shredding his Achilles tendon. Because bullets are rude.
It wasn't as though Stevens just went home after being shot -- he did get treatment several times in both Syria and Iraq, including 5 separate surgeries -- but these were combat hospitals, and Stevens didn't even have an established identity for quite a while. The injuries they were attempting to treat were what you might call "you're gonna need to go to a hospital in Chicago" level stuff.
"Get your FOOT off the damn TABLE!"
When he was shipped home right after his last surgery, they confiscated his bags, including his pain medication. After 14 hours on the way to Chicago with no pain management, he needed to see a doctor big time, but not before settling back in a bit and reuniting with family. Once back home, Stevens got access to some crutches, and it was on those that he made his way, alone, to the hospital. Once there, he checked in, and the triage nurse, not seeing any need to prioritize him, left him sitting in the waiting room, waiting for his turn to be seen.
In all, he traveled about 6200 miles with a bullet wound that nearly cost him his leg. Remember that the next time you're in the middle of a filth-ridden string of profanity after stubbing your toe on the coffee table.
Pizza Delivery Guy Gets Stabbed In The Lung And Still Delivers The Pizza
Josh Lewis is some kind of pizza delivering dynamo, and Spinelli's Pizza in Louisville, Kentucky better have named a pie after him for what he went through to make sure a pizza got delivered.
"This certificate only needs one word: Badass."
On a Sunday afternoon, when everything should have been chill and relaxed, Lewis got tapped to deliver a pizza to a local hospital. So he hopped in his Jeep and drove it to Norton Hospital where he was immediately met by a knife-wielding maniac. He not only carjacked the pizza guy, he stabbed him right in the back to do so, plunging the knife into Lewis's chest cavity and collapsing his lung.
The carjacker made off with the Jeep. Lewis, since he was already where he needed to be, delivered the damn pizza, knife in his back and all. Here's the irony: the hospital he was at didn't have an emergency room, so he couldn't even be treated on site. An ambulance had to take him to a different hospital, because evidently, life is a cartoon.
Guy Gets Hit By A Bus And Continues With His Day Like Nothing Happened
Who doesn’t like a pint or 12 every now and then? Probably ne'er-do-wells. Maybe zombies. For the rest of us, a refreshing drink at the local pub is the closest we get to feeling alive after we turn 30. And that's probably what was motivating 53-year-old Simon Smith when he headed out for a stroll one summer's day in 2017, never realizing that he was about to be full-on bussed.
Security camera footage actually catches the moment that Smith is crossing the street, when a bus comes tearing out of nowhere like Sandra Bullock is driving the thing and just launches him like a Falcon X rocket. The man is airborne for several yards and then literally skids a good ten feet or more across the pavement until he's conveniently right at the door of a bar where they've known him for about 20 years.
Without missing a beat, Smith gets to his feet and just walks into the bar like the bus did him a favor by shaving a few seconds off of his trip. An ambulance did come to check him out, because when a dude takes a bus hit like Superman, you might as well see it for yourself. Initially, paramedics and police didn't even believe that he'd been hit, insisting it must have just been debris that bounced off of his big ol' skull. Until they saw the video footage:
As for Smith, he did have a pint later in the day after being treated for bruises and road rash. But if we find out he paid for it himself, we're going to be angry. And you wouldn't like it when we're angry.
Two Champions Who Competed While Having Broken Necks
Some people go above and beyond when it comes to competition. You hear about athletes "giving 110%" and start wondering if that's mathematically possible ... but if you ever need some proof, just check out Bert Trautmann and Kurt Angle, both of whom managed to excel at their sports -- Trautmann at soccer and Angle at wrestling -- even while hindered by injuries. Oh, and the injury was a broken freakin' neck.
Trautmann had actually been a Nazi soldier during the war. He went AWOL after becoming disgusted by the practices of the regime and was captured by British troops. He stayed in Britain after his release from prison and became goalkeeper for a semi-pro team, which lasted as long as it took for the public to find out he was a former Nazi. Twenty thousand people protested outside the stadium, but it was a letter from a rabbi, insisting that one German should not be held responsible for the acts of his country, that allowed him to not only stay but eventually win over the crowds.
Trautmann played in over 500 games, and in 1956, he won FWA Footballer of the Year. In a game that year, he dove to make a save, and another player's knee made contact with the back of his head. He remembered seeing stars and felt extreme pain, but there was a rule against player substitutions, so he kept playing ... for 16 more minutes. He made several more saves and helped his team win.
"It actually kind of tickled. Hehehehehe."
After the game there was an awards ceremony, and Prince Phillip, himself, took a moment to let Trautmann know his neck was looking a little less straight than it should. Trautmann shrugged it off -- not literally, of course, because he couldn't even move his head at that point -- and then continued on to a celebratory banquet. The next day, Trautmann finally saw a doctor. That guy said it was a crick, and he'd sleep it off.
It was another three days before Trautmann finally saw a doctor who wasn't a complete moron and got an X-Ray that showed his neck was all kinds of broken. The only reason he wasn't paralyzed was that one of his broken vertebrae had wedged itself against another broken vertebra, holding everything very tenuously in place. He went on to play soccer for another 8 years after healing.
Closer to our generation, WWE superstar Kurt Angle performed a very similar feat. While training for the 1996 Olympics, Angle took a hard fall on the mat. With torn muscles, herniated discs and two cracked vertebrae, it seemed like his Olympic dream was over. Except the broken neck didn't stop him from winning the match and sending him to the final round of Olympic qualifiers.
"Look out behind you! He's got a chair!"
Doctors told him he needed a solid 6 months of healing, but he only had two before he needed to qualify for the Olympics. No doctor would clear him for it until he found one that he claimed was either really smart or really dumb. The plan? No more training until the match, and then we'll just numb you up real good so you can't feel pain. And somehow that insane plan worked.
Angle killed in the qualifiers, and by the time he got to the Olympics, his neck was still stiff and painful. Despite that, he blazed through the competition to win the gold, making him a true badass in the sport.
The Future Senator Who Put Robocop To Shame
There are countless stories of bravery in wartime -- soldiers performing almost inhuman feats that are hard to believe if not for witnesses being around to account for what happened. Such was the case with Daniel Inouye, a senator from Hawaii who served in the Second World War and kicked ass on a Robocop scale.
In France, while leading a charge against German forces, Inouye took a bullet in the chest, right above his heart. However, he happened to have two silver dollars in his pocket that stopped the bullet and started his chain of insane good luck.
That "come hither" look, tho.
In 1945, Inouye was in Italy, trying to take a heavily fortified ridge held by the Germans. Pinned down by machine gun fire, Inouye took a bullet to the gut, this time with no silver dollars for protection. The injury was grievous, but he pushed on, taking out the first of three machine gun nests with a volley of grenades and blasts from a Tommy gun.
Inouye's troops tried to get him to stop there and get his wound treated, but Inouye had a war to win, so that got back burnered. He led his troops to a second machine gun nest and destroyed that one as well before promptly collapsing from blood loss. But he wasn't done yet.
The squad was making inroads to a third nest when Inouye got a second wind and crawled his way to within yards of the final machine gun nest, at which point he raised his arm to hurl his final grenade for the hat trick. But just as his arm was cocked, a German soldier fired his rifle and literally shot the man's arm almost completely off. But he still wasn't done.
The grenade was clutched tight in Inouye's ex-hand, the arm barely still attached to the elbow. He warned his troops to stay back for fear it could go off at any moment, then used his one good hand to pry it out of the other.
That's Daniel on the left, being more awesome than most of us ever will be.
The enemy soldier tried to reload his weapon as Inouye primed a throw with his off hand and lobbed that bad boy right into the bunker, destroying it. Then he got to his feet and, firing his machine gun with one hand, took out the rest of the German resistance before a stray bullet got him in the leg.
Inouye came to, surrounded by his platoon, and later had his arm fully amputated with no anesthesia at a field hospital. He went on to receive a Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal and the Medal of Honor.
Suck it, Alex Murphy.
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