Comeback Kids: Athletes Who Rose Up From The Depths Of Hell

Darren - July 20, 2023

Comeback Kids: Athletes Who Rose Up From The Depths Of Hell

Darren - July 20, 2023

Sky Sports

Eric Abidal

Abidal has one of the most dramatic stories on this list because he recovered from cancer and won the Champions League in 2011. The French star even lifted the trophy first because his Barcelona teammates thought that he deserved it. But that wasn’t the end of Abidal’s problems because his health problems returned.

Sports Illustrated

Next, he required a liver transplant and nobody thought that he would play again. Nonetheless, Abidal showed his toughness and determination as he recovered again. He returned to Barcelona before playing in France with Monaco. It’s a legendary story because he rose from the depths of Hell (via Sky Sports).

The Guardian

Brittney Griner

It’s safe to say that Griner never expected to spend time in a Russian jail. The WNBA star has spent her career with the Phoenix Mercury. But she also played in China and Russia during the offseason. Then the Russian government turned her into a political pawn as they incarcerated her on drug charges (via The Athletic).

ABC News

Griner foolishly brought cannabis oil into the country for personal use. The Russians leaped at this and threw her into jail for four months. It became a major international incident but in the end, the U.S. government brought her home. They swapped her for a convicted arms dealer and she resumed her career with aplomb.

Ed Mulholland

Kassim Ouma

Nobody has a story like Ouma’s because he rose from the depths of Hell. The former boxer had a decent career but his rise to stardom was insane. He grew up in Uganda but then mercenaries kidnapped him before forcing him to become a child soldier. It was a horrific ordeal for a youngster and he admits that he killed people.


Ouma escaped the army and entered the boxing world. He won the IBF Light-Middleweight title while he also fought for WBC belts. Some people will disparagingly say that he had an average record but they’re missing the point. He overcame the odds to transform his life and become a functioning human being (via Medium).


Francis Ngannou

Ngannou has one of the most iconic stories in sports history. The Cameroonian MMA fighter worked in sand mines when he was young. But he wanted more from his life and decided to travel to France to become a boxer. He crossed the African continent and went to Morocco where he faced police brutality.


The future UFC champion risked his life as he crossed deserts and waterways. When he arrived in Europe he sheltered in car parks before Fernand Lopez welcomed him to his gym. Then he evolved into the most frightening heavyweight on the planet as he rose from the depths of Hell (via The Mirror).