Dangerous Sports Like Car Racing, Boxing, and…Competitive Eating?

Dangerous Sports Like Car Racing, Boxing, and…Competitive Eating?

Davey Moore famously lost his life immediately after losing his featherweight title in 1963. Dale Earnhardt died in 2001 where he had won the Daytona 500 just three years earlier. In 1920, New York Yankees pitcher Carl Mays beaned Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman, who died a few hours later. Minnesota North Stars skater William Masterton died in 1968 as a result of injuries suffered in a collision with an Oakland Seals player.

You can add competitive eating to this list of potentially deadly sports.

Last week, Walter Eagle Tail, 47, died during a South Dakota competitive-eating event when he chocked on a hot dog. “Basically, he probably just suffocated,” said Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler. “It got lodged in his throat and they couldn’t get it out.”

The South Dakota event isn’t the first one to see a fatality. In 2008, a 23-year-old died attempting to gain the title of “Big Stomach King.” A Romanian man died in 2013 at a sausage-eating contest. Another man died in 2012 at an odd event where he was trying to win a live python by eating the most worms and live cockroaches.

The South Dakota death happened just a day before famed competitive eater Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, pictured above, won Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, New York. Chestnut claimed his eighth straight mustard belt by devouring 61 hot dogs in ten minutes.

One competitive eater warned at TMZ that participants across the nation should carefully assess each event for safety. Pro eater Molly Schuyler cautioned, “Mom and pop shops don’t usually want to spend the money for [medical personnel].”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com