By Chris Wright
In one of football’s most famous cases of nominative determinism, David Busst splintered his leg while playing for Coventry against Manchester United at Old Trafford in 1996.
It was, and remains to this day, one of the most harrowing incidents Pies has ever witnessed on a football pitch. The way Busst collapsed as his leg crumpled up underneath his own weight. Peter Schmeichel was forced to see a counsellor afterwards, which should tell you everything you need to know.
Busst underwent 26 separate surgeries to save his limb. On top of all that he then contracted MRSA while recovering in hospital, causing further damage to the tissue and muscle.
Unsurprisingly, he never played professionally again.
19 years on from that fateful day, Busst popped into the TalkSPORT studio over the weekend and, on request, showed off his scars.
Frightening isn’t even the word…
— Andy Goldstein MBE (@andygoldstein05) July 24, 2015
Apparently, the specialist responsible for his rehabilitation once told Busst that if he’d suffered the same injury 20 years before he did, his leg would’ve been amputated, no question. Looking at those scars, we’re not remotely surprised.
The 48-year-old, who currently heads Coventry’s Football in the Community programme, recounted the harrowing day:
“I was on the pitch 87 seconds when I got injured. [Denis] Irwin came off the post I think and [Brian] McClair came from behind and in that split second it was just the impact of two forces, one going one way and one going the other way.”
“I knew something serious had happened; something wasn’t in the place it should have been. I could see from the reaction of people around me. I’ll never forget Dion Dublin, he was just bent down with his hand on his head, the look of horror in his eyes.
“They would have seen my right shin coming up at an ‘L’ shape when it should have been straight down. “I didn’t look down, you go into shock mode. The pain is excruciating. You freeze. You think any movement will make it worse.
“I saw the physio come on and then they called for the Man United physio to come on and then the doctors to come on. I hadn’t passed out.”
Busst went on to describe his arrival at hospital, and the steady procession of concerned Manchester United players that came to visit him in the aftermath.
“I had to have the kit cut off me. I always remember them having to remove my boot, my sock and my shinpad and I was awake for that,” he continued.
“Steve Bruce and his son Alex, who was eight years old, came in. Ryan Giggs came to see me.
“After about 4-5 weeks I was able to go out to a hotel with my family and I got a call from downstairs saying there was a Manchester United fan who wanted to come up and see me.
“This young lad in a baseball cap came up and I said “Hi, I’m Dave Busst” and he said ‘I’m David Beckham’.
“I went ‘oh God I’m so sorry, they said it was just a fan down in the lobby’. He wasn’t as famous as he is now.”
Amazingly enough, Busst is back playing football at 5-a-side and Over-35s Sunday league level (he actually plays for the same amateur team as Stan Petrov), though he admits he still winces when he goes in for tackles.
We can just about forgive him.