Warning: Those who are easily scared or have just finished eating lunch shouldn’t read this article. The article features gory photos of football players with horrific wounds. These horrific injuries in football are not for the faint-hearted.
Since football is a contact sport, it has seen its share of horrifying injuries. Many names spring to mind when discussing horrific injuries: Djibril Cisse, Eduardo, Aaron Ramsey, Antonio Valencia, Henrik Larsson, etc., and more recently Laurent Koscielny.
Nearly every player listed above was able to overcome adversity and build a prosperous career.
Some players, though, weren’t quite as fortunate. Please keep the five players listed below in your thoughts. These players’ football playing careers were abruptly ended by injuries that ruined and derailed their careers.
Worst injuries in football:
5. Ben Collett – Manchester United:
When Ben Collett was nine years old, he was a trainee at Manchester United. Collett advanced through the U-17 and U-19 divisions with style in 2001. His 2002–03 season performances earned him the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award, which has previously gone to Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and Phil Neville, among others.
That season, Collett also netted a goal in the FA Youth Cup final first leg. Collett appeared to be well on his way to building a prosperous career at Manchester United at that point. The star winger Ryan Giggs was compared to Collett by fans, who had great expectations for him.
However, destiny had other plans for him. Barely a week had passed since Collett’s FA Youth Cup victory when he was chosen for a reserve team match against Middlesborough on May 1, 2003.
Days before Collett was set to receive a three-year contract offer from the team, the injury ended Collett’s career. This meant Collett missed out on the opportunity to earn millions of pounds from endorsement deals and contractual obligations.
Five years after the injury, in May 2008, Collett filed a lawsuit against Middlesborough and Gary Smith, claiming he would lose future earnings. Among the witnesses called in to attest to Collett’s talent were Sir Alex Ferguson and Gary Neville.
Gary Smith and Middlesborough FC acknowledged their legal responsibility in the case, and Collett received a £4.5 million damages award in August 2008. According to Mr Collett’s attorney Jan Levinson, “The honour reflects Ben’s talent and potential before the tackle as one of the brightest young footballers in the country. That being said, Ben would have rather earned this over the course of a full gaming career.”
4. Dean Ashton – West Ham United:
The tale of former West Ham and England striker Dean Ashton is one of unmet expectations—not because he was unable to live the dream, but rather because it was stolen from him at the height of his abilities.
The highly regarded Ashton, a graduate of the renowned Crewe Alexandra academy, was acquired by West Ham during the January transfer window of 2006. Because of Ashton’s performances, which hinted at the enormous potential he possessed, West Ham had to fend off interest from Manchester United and Arsenal in order to hire him.
In August 2006, Ashton finally got the England call-up that supporters and managers had been clamouring for, despite missing out on the 2006 World Cup.
But as luck would have it, Ashton broke his ankle during one of the training sessions due to a poorly timed tackle by fellow England international Shaun Wright-Philips. He would end up sitting out the entire season of 2006–07. Despite making 35 more appearances following his horrific injury, Ashton’s body eventually suffered from all of the bothersome ankle injuries.
Physicians recommended that he retire because more damage might have prevented him from ever being able to walk. At the age of 26, Dean Ashton declared in December 2009 that he was giving up football and would never play again. A bright career was cut short just as things were starting to come together.
3. Luc Nilis – Aston Villa:
Luc Nilis is regarded as one of the greatest football players in history—and the unluckiest. Nilis, a Belgian professional at PSV in the late 1990s, formed a lethal alliance with Ruud van Nistelrooy. In two seasons, the pair combined for 103 goals. Nistelrooy would even go so far as to call Nilis one of the best players he had ever played with; Ronaldo, the Brazilian, would also concur.
Nilis immediately rose to the top of the real estate market, and in 2000, he was approached by Aston Villa to move to the Premier League. He even scored an incredible goal against Chelsea on his Villa debut.
However, a few days later, Nilis sustained one of the most horrifying injuries in sports history—let alone football—during a game against Ipswich. Nilis’ right leg was broken in two places after he collided with the Ipswich custodian; despite receiving medical attention, the damage was too great to heal. Also, Nilis abruptly left the game following the incident, cruelly ending her once-burgeoning career.
Nilis’ right leg was broken in two places after he collided with the Ipswich custodian; despite receiving medical attention, the damage was too great to heal. Nilis abruptly left the game following the incident, cruelly ending her once-burgeoning career.
2. Alf-Inge Haaland – Manchester City:
Who can forget the storied rivalry between Alf Haaland of Manchester City and Roy Keane of Manchester United? This is one of the most visually stunning rivalries in football, and the drama was increased when Roy Keane revealed in his autobiography that he intentionally injured Haaland.
In actuality, though, Alf Haaland retired a few games later due to problems with his left knee after Roy Keane gave him a hard kick to the right knee. Is it therefore possible that Haaland’s career was not ended prematurely by Keane’s tackle? Haaland disputes this.
He said, “The example he set for young children who look up to famous athletes like him is the worst thing about what he did and wrote in his book. They observe these things and assume nothing is wrong. I was a central midfield player and had weekly run-ins with people, but problems are left on the field when the game is over and hands are shaken. That’s what my relationship with him should have been like.”
Even though Alf-Inge Haaland’s career ended too soon, many believe that his son Erling is among the top young players in football right now. The massive striker, who currently plays for Borussia Dortmund, appears to be headed for greatness and is being pursued by teams like Real Madrid and Manchester United.
1. David Busst – Coventry City:
Many people consider David Busst’s career-ending injury to be the worst in football history. It occurred during a Premier League match in April 1996 between Busst’s Coventry City and Manchester United. A defender named Busst had gone up for a corner.
Busst ran in to slot the ball home after United custodian Peter Schmeichel made a save, but not before he collided with Brian McClair and Denis Irwin. Following was complete shock and horror as the players noticed the horrifying injury—extensive compound fractures to both the tibia and fibula of Busst’s right leg—due to his frantic arm waving.
Because of the severity of the injury, the doctors briefly considered amputating Busst’s leg. After 26 surgeries, Busst would leave the hospital, but he would never return to play football professionally. At the age of 29, he retired in November 1996.
There was more to the injury than just Busst. When Schmeichel saw Busst’s broken leg, he puked on the pitch. The injury had such an impact that he and many of the other players had to go through counselling afterwards.
P.S. – Only football players whose careers were ended due to serious injuries are included in this list. Because players like Aaron Ramsey, Djibril Cisse, Eduardo, and others are still able to play professional football in a fit and active manner despite the critical nature of their injuries, these players are not included in the article.
So, this was all about the worst injuries in football. Also read, Top 10 indoor sports & recreational activities for home