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ArseWeb presents - Unusual Football Injuries

This page began as a vehicle for the following Euro96 story from the BMJ, but now also features a list of other strange footballing injuries below.

British Medical Journal 28th September 1996. 313:7060. p828.

Text above reads:
Alan Shearer's opening goal for England against Germany in the Euro 96 semifinal was celebrated throughout the country by football supporters. The radiographs show a bicondylar fracture of the tibial plateau and a fracture of the calcaneum, which occurred in two "armchair" supporters (aged 36 and 54) who celebrated with the customary jumping up and down in front of their television set. Perhaps this sort of injury might be prevented by a pre-match warm-up and correct footwear. - P HALLUM, senior house officer, AET WHITE, senior registrar, department of orthopaedic surgery, Barnet General Hospital.

Other amusing football injuries:

  • Sunday December 5th 2004. Playing in the Swiss league, Servette midfielder Paulo Diogo scored against Schaffhausen, then jumped into the crowd to celebrate. On the way, he managed to catch his wedding ring on a fence and tore off the top half of his finger. He was booked for excessive celebration.
  • Arsenal vs Chelsea, Saturday 6th May 200. After scoring Arsenal's (and his) second (and winning) goal, Thierry Henry went to celebrate in the corner of the pitch and required treatment after hitting himself in the face with the corner flag (see report). ArseWeb reader Joel points out that Marco Tardelli (Italy) did a similar thing in the World Cup final in Spain, 1982.
  • New Scientist of 5th August 1999 reported on research into a condition called SARA (sexually acquired reactive arthritis) in sportsmen, particularly footballers. It seems that footballers have so much sex that they're particularly susceptible to the condition, which in turn makes them more susceptible to eg knee injuries. See this newsreel item for more.
  • Perry Groves was on the bench for an Arsenal match (before he'd played for us). We went one-nil up and he jumped up to celebrate only to hit his head on the roof of the dug-out! He knocked himself out and needed treatment from physio Gary Lewin.
  • Sometime in the 70s, Norwegian International defender Svein Grondalen had to withdraw from an International after an accident which happened while he was out jogging. He collided with a moose.
  • David Seaman once broke a bone reaching for his TV remote
  • Another time, when already out with an injured knee, Seaman went carp fishing and put his shoulder out while reeling in a 26 pounder.
  • Carlo Cudicini is also said to have damaged a knee reaching for a remote control. Could be that one or both (see David Seaman in the entry before last) is urban legend? Or that there's something about goalkeepers that makes them prone to this injury?
  • In 1970 the career of Chic Brodie (Brentford keeper) was ended by injury following a mid-match collision with a dog that had invaded the pitch.
  • In 1975 Man United keeper Alex Stepney screamed so hard at his team-mates that he broke his jaw.
  • Brazilian star Ramalho was in bed for three days after swallowing a suppository intended to treat a dental infection
  • Milan Rapaic once missed the start of Hajduk Split's season after sticking his boarding-pass in his eye at the airport.
  • Not so funny perhaps, but where else are we going to tell you about it?..... Indonesian star Mistar, 25, was tragically killed by a herd of pigs that invaded his team's training pitch before a Cup fixture in 1995.
  • in 1999 Portsmouth's Johnny "Lager" Durnin, playing a round of golf with Alan McLoughlin, crashed his buggy into a fairway hollow because he was admiring the view rather than watching the ground in front, and dislocated his elbow putting him out for 6 weeks.
  • In 1993 keeper Dave Beasant was kept out by a foot injury caused by a falling jar of salad cream. Yes, he fumbled it, and because his hands were full he stuck out a foot to stop it hitting the floor!
  • Barnsley's Darren Barnard slipped in a puddle of his new puppy's pee on the kitchen floor. The resulting knee ligament damage kept him out of action for five months.
  • Wolves striker Robbie Keane ruptured his knee cartilage in 1998 after stretching to pick up his TV remote control (cf Seaman & Cudicini, above).
  • Steve Morrow broke his collarbone after falling off Tony Adams while celebrating the 1993 League Cup final win.
  • David Batty's return from an Achilles tendon injury was put back when he was run over by his toddler on a tricycle.
  • Allan Nielsen of Spurs missed several matches after his daughter poked him in the eye
  • Republic of Ireland star Alan McLoughlin, John Durnin's golf-partner (see above), ruptured his right thumb picking up daughter Megan.
  • Alan Wright, Villa's little full-back, needed treatment for a knee strain caused by stretching to reach the accelerator in his new Ferrari. 'It gave me grief,' said Wright, who swapped the car for a Rover 416.
  • Arsenal legend Charlie George never fully recovered from cutting off his big toe with a lawnmower.
  • Lee Hodges of Barnet slipped on a bar of soap in the shower, wrenching his groin
  • Alan Mullery missed England's 1964 tour of South America after putting his back out while brushing his teeth.
  • Reserve Liverpool keeper Stensgaard once injured himself in an incident with an ironing board. We don't know if he was ironing at the time.
  • Rio Ferdinand of Leeds damaged his knee in January 2001, while relaxing in front of the telly with his feet up on a coffee table. He had to go for scans on a tendon.
  • Former Arsenal keeper Richard Wright, was warming up in the goalmouth in preparation for an FA Cup tie against Chelsea for his next club Everton, when he twisted his ankle. He did it landing on a wooden sign instructing people not to practise there ((see newsreel)/
  • From Sheila Dodds in the US. This is not a funny one!
    "In 1999, My sophomore son, who was a star tail-back got hit and lost his left kidney. There were no bruises on his body at all. Had they not done a cat scan, he would have died. He walked off the field, and laid down. His kidney was severed in half, and was bleeding internally. Doctors were amazed he lived. His story has been brought up numerous times to the board of doctors in the hospital, and they also watched the play of how he was hit. Unfortunately, he can never play football, soccer, or wrestle again".
  • Spain (and Valencia) keeper Santiago Canizares was ruled out of the 2002 World Cup finals after a bottle of aftershave dropped on his foot (by himself, we assume) caused cuts and serious tendon damage.
  • David Beckham needed stitches above his left eye following a dressing room incident after Arsenal's 2-0 FA Cup win at Old Trafford on 15th Feb 2003. The injury was caused by his manager Sir Alex Ferguson kicking a football boot at him.
  • Crystal Palace keeper Alex Kolinko was hit around the head by his boss Trevor Francis in October 2002. Kolinko was on the bench, and Francis took offence when he laughed at their conceding a goal. The FA fined Francis 1000 pounds over the incident.
  • In 1996, Grimsby manager Brian Laws broke midfielder Ivan Bonetti's cheekbone after the Italian threw food at him in a dressing-room row. Laws escaped punishment, but they both were forced to make public apologies.
  • Shaun Goater injured a foot while playing for Man City against Birmingham in the autumn for 2003. The injury was sustained when he kicked an advertising hoarding in celebration of a goal by Nic Anelka. Goater had to be substituted.
  • Also in 2003, Villa striker Darius Vassell injured himself while attempting DIY surgery on his own foot. He had a blood blister under the toe-nail on his big toe and was using a power drill to drill through the nail and drain the wound. Drilling to drain such blisters is not an uncommon procedure, but normally it is conducted by a qualified person under sterile conditions. Vassell made it worse, picked up an infection, and had to have half the nail removed.
  • Stalybridge Celtic keeper Mark Statham missed a game in 1999 after trapping his head in a car door. We presume that his absence was caused by a resulting injury (rather than that he was still stuck in the car at kick-off) but we don't know what the injury was.
  • Halifax defender Dave Robinson put his shoulder out falling off a kid's slide

...and a few non-football ones:

  • Derek Pringle missed a Test match having strained his back 'writing a letter'.
  • My history teacher at school (hi Mr Franklin!) was once off sick with the excuse that he ran over his foot with a vacuum cleaner. To be fair, it was an aggravation of an earlier injury (lawnmower). Another time he fell down the gap between a train and the platform.
    Or was he just trying to outdo his pupils when it came to ridiculous excuses?

See also unusual pool and snooker injuries
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