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5 sports stars who have defied the medical odds

5 sports stars who have defied the medical odds
© Reuters
Robert Kubica, who suffered horrific injuries in a rally crash in 2011, will race in Formula One next season.

Robert Kubica will make his return to Formula One with Williams just eight years after a crash which almost cost him his right hand.

The 33-year-old suffered serious injuries in an accident in the Ronde di Andorra in 2011, but has since adapted his driving style to lead with his left.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at five more sports stars who returned from serious illness or injury to reach the top.

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong recovered from cancer to return to cycling – then blotted his copybook (PA).

He did not exactly go on to cover himself in glory. But the disgraced American cyclist staged a remarkable recovery from advanced testicular cancer. Diagnosed in 1996, he was disease-free and fourth at the Vuelta a Espana two years later. The rest is unfortunate history.

Anthony Crolla

Anthony Crolla
Anthony Crolla overcame a fractured skull to claim the world crown (Peter Byrne/PA)

The Manchester fighter's initial bid for the WBA lightweight title had to be scrapped in January 2015 when he suffered a fractured skull trying to fend off burglars. Six months later he was back in the ring to earn a split decision draw with Darleys Perez and, in a November rematch, Crolla knocked out Perez to take the title.

Petr Cech

Petr Cech
Petr Cech plays on in his skull cap (Nick Potts/PA)

The then-Chelsea goalkeeper suffered serious head injuries in a clash with Reading's Stephen Hunt in a Premier League game at Stamford Bridge in October 2006. Although doctors said the injury almost cost Cech his life, he was back in goal three months later, and continues to wear a protective cap to this day.

Hermann Meier

Hermann Maier
Hermann Maier won the Laureus Comeback of the Year Award (Ian West/PA)

Austria's skiing superstar almost lost a leg in a motorcycle accident in 2001 and his sporting career seemed certain to be over. But he marked his return to competition in January 2003 with victory in a super-G race at Kitzbuhel – and one year later he went on to reclaim his overall world title.

Monica Seles

Monica Seles
Monica Seles won her fourth Australian Open title in 1996 (Rebecca Naden/PA)

Seles was at the peak of her career when she was stabbed by a spectator midway through a match in 1993. After two years away from the sport, Seles made a welcome and highly successful comeback, going on to win her fourth Australian Open title in Melbourne in 1996.

Click here for more stories about Monica Seles

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