Which US President’s football career was ended by Jim Thorpe?
Born on October 14, 1890, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was an aspiring pro baseball and football player before Jim Thorpe broke his leg in a football game. March 28 is the anniversary of Eisenhower’s death in 1969.
A 1915 graduate of U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Dwight D. Eisenhower was a promising halfback cadet for Army before becoming a five-star general and the 34th President of the United States.
Though his first choice was to enroll at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, Eisenhower became a standout football player at West Point for two seasons until one of the best football players in history broke his leg. (Though he passed the exams for the Naval Academy, Eisenhower was beyond the 20-year age limit for admittance.)
On November 9, 1912, Jim Thorpe and his Carlisle Indians played Eisenhower’s Cadets at West Point. The outcome was the worst it could be for the future president. Not only did the Indians steamroll Army 27-6, but Eisenhower broke his leg trying to tackle Thorpe. Adding insult to injury, Eisenhower was nearly expelled for medical reasons due to his fractured leg after he broke it a second time horseback riding.
Known as the “Kansas Cyclone” for his speed, Eisenhower played both ways in football at running back and linebacker. The President also played baseball at West Point.
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