Horror Injuries That Rocked British Football

Football is described by most of its fans as the beautiful game, but on occasion it has potential to turn bad. Injuries may be part and parcel of the game, but for most players stepping onto a pitch, it is the furthest thought from their mind.



From niggling injuries that plague stars for a few weeks, through to the season-ending, and even career-threatening woes, British football fans have seen them all.


On Sunday, Liverpool youngster Harvey Elliott suffered an horrific ankle injury playing against Leeds United – hospital tests are still to confirm the true extent of the injury but the teen, who had broken into German Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI early in the season, looks set for surgery.


With former Liverpool winger John Barnes in their camp as an ambassador, B-Cure Laser by Good Energies, producers of a low-level laser therapy device that targets chronic pain, take a look back at some of the injuries that shook British football to the core.


Win or Busst for Sky Blues defender

In what transpired to be a career-ending injury, Coventry City defender David Busst suffered one of the most traumatic incidents in British football history on 8th April 1996. Competing for a corner in a match against Manchester United, the 28-year-old collided with Denis Irwin and Brian McClair, suffering extensive fractures to the tibia and fibula on his right leg. After 10 operations in 12 days Busst was forced to call time on his career.


It’s a Shaw long way back to the top

Back in June 2014, Luke Shaw made a dream move when signing for Manchester United in a £31 million deal, but just a year later, he was sidelined following a gruelling injury in a contest with PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League. At just 20 years old, the double fracture of his tibia and fibula could have put an end to his career when a dangerous two-footed challenge from Mexican centre-back Moreno left him on the deck, writhing in agony. Surgery and seven months on the sidelines put an end to Shaw’s season, while he also missed out on England’s run to the last 16 at Euro 2016. The Manchester United star has made a full recovery though and hit the headlines this summer, scoring in the Euro 2020 final as England eventually succumbed to Italy on penalties after a 1-1 full time scoreline.


Ankle woes curtail Elliott’s emphatic rise

Harvey Elliott has been a rising star in British football. After a successful loan spell with Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers, in which he scored seven times from 41 appearances, the 18-year-old return to Anfield and broke into Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI at the start of the 2021/22 campaign. But on Sunday, as Liverpool won 3-0 against Leeds United to join Manchester United and Chelsea at the top of the Premier League, the teen’s season was thrown into jeopardy. A strong challenge from Leeds defender Pascal Struijk left Elliott writhing on the floor and Mo Salah calling for the medical team. After several minutes, Elliott headed for the hospital on a stretcher and referee Craig Pawson brandished the red card to Struijk. Reds boss Jurgen Klopp confirmed a dislocated ankle for Elliott, who is expected to undergo surgery in the coming days, but a lengthy spell out of the game beckons.


Larsson battles back to lead the line

Sometimes, the football gods are looking down on players when traumatic incidents occur. This was certainly the case for Swedish striker Henrik Larsson following a gruelling injury in the UEFA Cup. Just 12 minutes into Celtic’s match against Olympique Lyonnais, the striker came out on the wrong end of a challenge on Serge Blanc and left him with a double fracture. Unaffected by the tackle, Blanc scored the only goal of the game as Lyon won 1-0. For Larsson, an eight-month recovery period ensued, after which he returned to full action, leading the line for Celtic and Sweden once more.


Jimenez’s head for heights

Thankfully, head injuries are not commonplace in British football, but in November 2020, Wolves striker Raúl Jiménez clashed heads with Arsenal defender David Luiz, which left him with a fractured skull. While there was no ill-intent in the clash, Jiménez lay unconscious on the pitch, and he required an operation to stem the bleeding and repair damaged nerve cells. After spending a week in hospital and continuing his recuperation at home, the Mexican returned to light training in January but is yet to make his return to Premier League action. 


Innocuous challenge sidelines rivalry

Nothing beats the atmosphere of a fierce Premier League rivalry, but when Alan Smith endured a freak accident during Manchester United’s FA Cup match against Liverpool at Anfield in 2006, that rivalry was put on hold. No one could have envisaged a free kick resulting in a broken leg, but such was the force of John Arne Riise’s free kick that Smith not only broke his leg when he dived in to block the shot, but he also dislocated his ankle. The former England international made a successful return to club action though, only retiring 12 years later in 2018.


Dier’s bouncebackability

The treatment table and Kieron Dyer go hand in hand – you can’t find one without thinking of the other. In an injury-prone career, there was one injury that stands out above the rest: a double fracture that saw him stretchered off the pitch in West Ham United’s Carling Cup tie against Bristol Rovers in August 2007. In a tackle that was deemed reckless by then-Hammers manager Alan Curbishley, Dyer sustained a double leg break below the knee which kept him out until the following season. The promising England star’s career never came to fruition though as he was plagued by knee, Achilles tendon, and calf strain injuries.


It’s all about the timing

Mistimed challenges can have disastrous consequences, and that was the case for Croatian Eduardo Da Silva when Premier League leaders Arsenal faced Birmingham City at St Andrews in February 2008. Five points clear at the top, Eduardo was very much leading Arsenal’s title challenge, but when Martin Taylor slid in, Eduardo’s season came to a bone-crunching end as he suffered tibia and fibula fractures and a dislocated ankle. As Arsenal drew the match 2-2 and went on to miss out on Premier League glory, Eduardo underwent surgery and returned just under 12 months after the injury, but he was never the same player again.


Image: B Cure Laser