Injury or illness are the two most common reasons behind professional athletes being forced out of action.
But when Welsh international rugby player Scott Baldwin was sidelined, there was a more unusual reason for his absence.
Baldwin missed the Ospreys’ Pro14 clash against South African outfit, the Cheetahs, after being bitten by a lion, his coach Steve Tandy has revealed.
— scott baldwin (@scottbaldwin2) September 30, 2017
The team had taken a trip to a game lodge in South Africa on the eve of the fixture, when Baldwin ignored warnings to stick his hand into the lion’s den.
Fortunately, the repercussions were limited to a couple of stitches and a stinging rebuke from his boss.
“There was an incident with a lion, but in fairness it was nothing to do with the lion,” said an unimpressed Tandy.
“It was pretty stupid on Scott’s behalf and he is pretty lucky. It had nothing to do with where we were.
“It was a good environment and we were told how far back to stand.
“I don’t know what sort of wildlife show Scott has been watching where you can pat a lion on the head as if it’s a kitten.
“It’s probably one of the silliest things I’ve even been involved in, but thankfully he is OK and hopefully he will be back up and running in the next couple of weeks.”