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Top 20 Dumb/Bizarre Football Injuries

By Chris Wright

With a gentile doff of the cap to Mr Banega somehow managing to break his own ankle under his own K-reg Vauxhall Tigra on a petrol station forecourt yesterday, we thought we’d have a look at some of the most dumb/bizarre/Darwin Award-worthy injuries sustained by footballers over the years…

(Please note: We’ve purposefully omitted some of the more ‘well-trodden’ examples – Dave Beasant and his salad cream, David Batty’s tricycle trauma, David James and his TV remote, Chic Brodie’s career-ending dog collision, Santi Canizares’ little aftershave accident, etc – to make room for a few you may not be so familiar with)

20. Alex Stepney; Big mouth…

In 1975, legendary Manchester United goalkeeper Stepney dislocated his jaw while bellowing at his defenders during a match against Birmingham. Midfielder Brian Greenhoff replaced Stepney in goal and managed to keep a clean sheet.

19. Jari Litmanen; Coke addict…

In an incident described by his former manager both with Fulham and Finland, Roy Hodgson, it appears that Litmanen was hit in the eye by the ring-pull that lodged in his cornea after pinging from a Coke can opened by Malmo’s sporting director in 2005.

18. Alan Wright; Ferrari farrago…

Oh how the other half live, eh? The diminutive (5’4″) former Aston Villa full-back put his knee out while stretching to reach the accelerator of his new Ferrari. Legend has it that, upon his return to full fitness and with just 1,000 miles on the clock, Wright went straight out and swapped his £50,000 supercar for a nice, sensible, club-sponsored Rover 416.

17. Rio Ferdinand; Coffee and TV…

While at Leeds, Rio suffered a tendon strain in his knee after leaving his leg propped on his coffee table for too long while watching the telly. Sympathy was presumably in short supply thereafter.

16. Michael Stensgaard; Iron Man…

The Danish goalkeeper, signed by Roy Evans at Liverpool, was forced to retire after suffering an acute injury to his shoulder while attempting to fold down an ironing board. Tricky.

15. Sean Flynn; Micro Machines…

Like a scene from Home Alone, the former Kidderminster captain broke his nose, split his lip wide open and bruised several of his toes after tripping over his young son’s toy cars in his front room.

14. Richard Wright; Lofty ambitions…

Dislocated his shoulder after falling backwards through his open loft door as he was packing away suitcases after a holiday.

13. Kirk Broadfoot; Eggface…

Last year, Broadfoot was admitted to hospital after a couple of microwaved poached eggs exploded in his face as he inspected them closely. Yep.

12. Alessandro Nesta; Thumb wars…

Ruptured one of the tendons in his left thumb after playing Playstation all night until his digits were red raw. He was out for a month and surgery was required.

11. Kevin Kyle; Scaldin’ Balls…

Former Sunderland lump Kevin Kyle scalded his testicles (never a good thing) and suffered fairly serious burns to his ‘inner thigh’ after spilling a jug of boiling water in his lap while trying to feed his toddler son. Kyle was apparently warming up a bottle of milk for his sprog when the wee mite wriggled and knocked the jug fatefully cock-wards.

10. Leroy Lita; ‘Stretching in bed’…

Leroy Lita, then of Reading, was sidelined for while in the summer of 2007 after ringing in one morning unable to move from his bed. The official line was that Lita was ‘injured while innocently stretching after waking’, though the footballing community immediately suspected an entirely different, more ‘masturbatory-inclined’ diagnosis.

9. Neil Edwards; There’s a goose loose…

In April 2004, a game between Rochdale and Scunthorpe was delayed for a few minutes due to Rochdale keeper Neil Edwards needing medical attention after being nipped on the arm while trying to remove an errant Canadian goose from the pitch at Glanford Park.

8. Milan Rapaic; Now boarding…

Rapaic once missed a fair old wodge of the start of Hajduk Split’s season after jabbing his boarding pass into his eye at the airport.

7. Ivano Bonetti; I’ll have the Chicken Wings…

Bonetti was somewhat of a fan favourite at Grimsby after paying half of his own £100,000 transfer fee to move from Torino to Blundell Park in 1995. A slight, flighty midfielder, Bonetti obviously wasn’t held in such high regard by then-manager Brian Laws – who blamed the Italian for not pulling his weight during a 3-2 defeat at Luton in February of 1996 and duly hurled a plate of chicken wings at his head.

Bonetti was left prostrate on the dressing room floor with a fractured cheekbone to boot. He left for Tranmere just five months later.

6. Sascha Bender; Wind assisted…

Bender, while playing for Stuttgart Kickers suffered a facial injury after being punched in the face by teammate Christian Okpala, who explained thus: “He permanently provoked me by farting all the time.”

5. Darius Vassell; Well drilled…

Back in 2003, Vassell attempted to drain a blood blister on his big toe with a cordless power drill. It quickly dawned on our Darius that his method probably wasn’t the NHS-recommended approach when his toe became badly infected and he had to have a segment of the nail removed to treat it.

4. Svein Grondalen; Drive-By ‘Moosing’…

Infamous. ‘Infamoose’ even. Former Norwegian international Grondalen was forced to miss a game for his country after a stray moose emerged from the roadside and buffeted him over while on an early morning jog.

3. Darren Barnard; Puppy puddle…

Former Barnsley midfielder Darren Barnard found himself ruled out for five, count ’em, five months with a torn knee ligament after he slipped in a puddle of his new puppy’s urine on the kitchen lino.

2. Julio Arca; Like jelly…

In 2004, Arca was stung by an ‘exotic’ jellyfish (it may well have been a Co-Op bag full of hypodermics) when he decided a dip in the icy brine of the North Sea seemed like a good idea during a Sunderland pre-season training session. The Argentinian midfielder broke out in hives and a severe rash and was immediately rushed to hospital.

1. Mistar; Piggin’ unlucky…

The Indonesian footballer was killed aged just 25 by a stampede of pigs which charged across his team’s training pitch in 1995. What a way to go. Death by bacon.

* * * * *

Far, far too many goalkeepers on that list for it to be a co-incidence, though we must give Mart Poom a special mention. Poom once seriously injured his ‘gentleman vegetables’ in a charity match for Derby against an Iron Maiden XI. To this day, no one knows how.

Any we’ve missed? You know the drill!

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By Chris on February 21st, 2012 in Featured, Hardmen, Injuries. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

18 Responses to “Top 20 Dumb/Bizarre Football Injuries”

  1. JJ says:

    Canizares injured for months by a bottle of perfume that fell on his foot…
    And Brazil´s Emerson (ex-Roma, ex-Milan) missing the 2002 WC (I think) due to an after training mess around where he was playing golie and ended up having his teeth tangled in the goal´s net after a save therefore dislocating his jaw and missing the World Cup – that´s my favourite.

  2. juancullo says:

    santiago canizares

  3. Adam says:

    Richard Wright (again) once injured his ankle in a the warm up to an FA cup replay with Chelsea by falling on a sign in the goal he was warming up in.

    The funniest part about it, that the video doesn’t show, was that the sign said not to practice in the goals…

  4. Mr. Chopper says:

    Stensgaard didn’t have his career ended by the shoulder injury. He actually played for Southampton waaay after he left Liverpool.

  5. Jimmaaar says:

    Chris – did Grimsby Town play at Gresty Road? I thought only the mighty Crewe Alexandra had the pleasure of using the hallowed turf on the road known as Gresty…

  6. Gibby says:

    Alan Tate of Swansea breaking his leg and out for 6 months after falling off his golf buggy !!!

  7. Mikey C says:

    South African defender Mark Fish had a lengthy absence from the Charlton 1st team after falling though his glass coffee table, an injury that required 39 stitches…

  8. Joey C says:

    Darren Bent slicing his finger open whilst cutting onions. Playing for Charlton at the time Bent injured tendons in his finger.

  9. kamz says:

    @JJ I think Emerson injured his shoulder, not his jaw.
    @Mikey You right about Fishy I remember that quite well.

    In another incident Leeds United Lucas Radebe was injured after slipping in snow (i think) whilst taking out his garbage.

  10. WildScotsman6 says:

    Neil Lennon for Celtic smashing his head off a curb after a night out with the boys… he always was one for one pint too many.. played with a bandage around his skull in the next match and refused to head the ball, haha!

  11. Wesley says:

    Sergio Romero (Argentina goalkeeper) was red carded while playing for AZ Alkmaar and smashed his hand on the wall in the tunnel to the dressing room. Ruled out for weeks.

  12. Wesley says:

    Oh wait, I found the video.
    He just made a huge error in the game, causing AZ to be kicked out of the Dutch cup. He then smashed the door (as can be seen in the video) and later he smacked the wall in the dressing room, which caused his hand to break.

  13. Fredrik says:

    Karl Corneliusson, defender in the Swedish national team, cut his thumb so badly when slicing cucumber that he was forced to major surgery and never fully recovered as a footballer, ending his career in the lower leauges. Hilarious but also tragic…

  14. […] phrase if ever there was one! Congratulations Adam. You’ve just etched your names in the hall of dumb footballing injuries forever […]

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