All it takes is one tackle to bring a footballer’s career to an abrupt end, ruining a lifetime dream. Here are three footballers that suffered career ending injuries.
David Busst – Coventry City
On 8 April 1996, Coventry City defender David Busst suffered an injury which is often considered as one of the most horrific injuries in Premier League history. Playing against Manchester United at Old Trafford, Busst ventured forward for a corner just two minutes into the match. Following a spectacular save from Peter Schmeichel, Busst collided at the far post with United players Denis Irwin and Brian McClair resulting in extensive compound fractures to both his tibia and fibula in his right leg. His injury was so brutal it caused Schmeichel to vomit on the pitch and he amongst others required counselling afterwards.
While in hospital Busst contracted MRSA, a bacterial infection which caused further damage to his muscle and tissue. At one point his injuries were so bad he ran the risk of having his leg amputated. After a number of operations including 14 in six weeks, Busst retired from football in November 1996 following advice from doctors. Since his retirement he has held a number of different roles at Coventry City and is currently director of their Football in the Community programme.
Luc Nilis – Aston Villa
It was just Luc Nilis’ third Premier League appearance for Aston Villa when he suffered an injury which would end his career early. He had joined the Villans just two months earlier following a prolific goal scoring spell at PSV where he had formed one of the deadliest partnerships in Europe with Ruud Van Nistelrooy. However, his spell in the Premier League was cut short after colliding with Ipswich Town goalkeeper Richard Wright resulting in a double compound fracture of his right shin.
Initially Villa physios were hopeful about his chances of recovery, but this was ruled out shortly after he contracted a bone infection, and at one point he faced the possibility of having his lower leg amputated. He retired from football not long after and has since had a number of off-the-field roles at numerous clubs. He is currently a coach at PSV.
Dean Ashton – West Ham United
West Ham United striker Dean Ashton was in his prime. He had just signed for the Hammers after a successful spell at Norwich City which saw him score 17 times in 44 league games and he was on the fringe of the England team. However, just eight months on from this he suffered a broken ankle following a tackle by Shaun Wright-Phillips during an England training session. Not only did the tackle break his ankle, it also caused extensive damage to his medial ankle ligaments. It would be a year before he would play again.
Whilst Ashton did return to action for a brief period, he retired from football aged just 26 after failing to recover from the ankle injury originally sustained during the England training session. In an interview with the Express, Ashton said: “Whenever I think about it, it makes me sad. It is one of those things that has happened and I have got to live with that now. I have to try to look to the positive things in life and there are plenty of other things in my life”. He currently works for Sky Sports as a pundit and commentator.