In the early stages of Monday's game between the Dallas Stars and the Colorado Avalanche, there was an unexpected stoppage of play due to an injury. But this time it wasn't a player who was hurting -- it was referee Chris Rooney, who took a deflected slap shot to the head. The game went on, but Rooney headed off the ice for the evening.

Rooney's not the first ref to take a brutal hit in the name of the game:


Unfortunately, because of the fast and gritty nature of hockey, Rooney is not the first NHL ref to take a shot he didn't expect or couldn't avoid. As you can see above, hockey can be dangerous for the ruled keepers as well, breaking blood or causing other injuries. The worst of it, though, might be this slide a linesman took after slipping on the ice. Have mercy.


With all of those oversized men sharing one field, it's a wonder that football games don't devolve into massive pile-ons more often. Veteran ref Ron Winter "all but disappears" into one of those piles, as one announcer put it, during a Ravens-Bengals game. With the ball loose, Winter doesn't have enough time to get away from the rush for the pigskin. Thankfully, it looks like he emerged from the ruckus unscathed.


Tony Allen has some speed as he makes his way up the court, but on one play the Memphis player actually inadvertently took out the legs of a ref. Allen likely didn't see the ref as he tried to cruise down the sideline, which likely caused a harder hit. Injury timeouts after plays aren't reserved for just the players. And the ref had to laugh later on at the irony of his blowing the whistle... for himself.


After Mardy Fish slams a serve just out, the bounce took its momentum directly into the eye of a line judge on the baseline. It's a one in a million shot but one that was so severe that the line judge had to be escorted off to tend to her wounds. Both Fish and his opponent are gentlemen throughout the incident and show incredible care and worry for the judge's well-being.


It doesn't look like much happens to the ref in this clip, but during a soccer match he dislocates his shoulder while signalling a free kick. It's a fluky accident, but one that's big enough to stop play. Nursing this injury might have also delivered a blow to the referee's ego as he has to live down the shame of it all. Still, the players are all understanding and compassionate throughout the saga.


The ref does his best to avoid the mayhem of two gigantic grown men pushing bellies, but ultimately there's just not enough space for him to operate out of sight. He takes the brunt of the impact of the melee as he's shoved into the first row of seats. The ref was replaced by another, and there's no sign of whether he was able to stand back up on his own. A vicious takedown indeed.


Only in rugby, arguably the world's toughest sport, would fans cheer after witnessing an innocent ref take an outrageous hit followed by another even worse one straight to the head. From every angle, it's clear that the ref sustained the worst of it. He was carted off and received medical care on the sideline. Even after he recovered, he'll forever be immortalized inside this viral video.


During a fierce boxing match between Canadian and Cuban fighters, a ref steps in too close to the action and winds up getting knocked out himself when he gets slugged in the head. The crowd went nuts when it witnessed something it couldn't believe. In such a tight space inside of the ring, it's sort of miraculous that this kind of thing doesn't happen more often.


At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, one tae kwon do fighter was so upset over a call that he kicks a ref in the head. It got him tossed from the games, and also revealed just how dangerous these positions can be with so much on the line for the competitors. It looks from the video that the referee budged just in case to keep clear of the worst of it.


It's everyone's worst nightmare -- a javelin piercing you while you watch form a distance. Well, one referee was the victim of a throw when the javelin became lodged in her foot, requiring surgery. Thankfully, this video doesn't show the slow-motion replay, but just the thought of the aftermath is enough to make the squeamish a bit uncomfortable.

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