Injuries are always a high risk when playing any contact sport, but in sports where passion runs deep like in football, horror injuries can occur. The most common injuries sustained by footballers are leg and ankle breaks, caused by bad last-minute challenges. Nine times out of ten, the player causing the injury does not mean to harm his opposite number but instead has lost his cool and lunged at the ball rather than timing it better. Occasionally however, like for example Roy Keane’s vicious attack on Leeds midfielder Alf-Inge Håland or Ben Thatcher’s last-minute two footed lunge at Pedro Mendes, have a unhonorable air of revenge about them.
Most football fans will remember at least one incident of not where a player has suffered a horrendous injury on the pitch, usually in front of host of tv camera’s who reply the event over and over from a multitude of angles. Its hard not to watch as human intrigue takes over and makes us watch what happened despite the sickening scenes. Whether it be the leg break suffered by Aaron Ramsey at Stoke a few years ago or the horrifying tackle by Axel Witsel on Marcin Wasilewski in the Belgian league or further back, the career ending injury suffered by Coventry’s Dave Buust back in 1996 against Manchester United, which made Peter Schmeichel run away in horror. Buust, who almost lost his leg following the inconspicuous challenge with United duo Denis Irwin and Brian McClair, has since recovered but it brought an abrupt end to his playing days whilst he was still very much in his prime.
More recently, a bad challenge on Jeremy Clement by Nice midfielder Valentin Eysseric has resulted in the former PSG and Rangers midfielder being ruled out for at least six months with a fibula fracture. With Clement’s new club, St. Etienne leading the game 1-0 with only 24 minutes played in the first half, Clement raced onto a loose ball to try to bring it under control. As he did so Eysseric was running towards the ball at a ninety degree angle to Clement. As he stuck his foot up to control the ball, Eysseric connected late and high with Clement’s leg, breaking it just above his right ankle. The player was sent off for the challenge whilst Clement received medical attention. It took the medical staff several minutes to secure Clements leg before carrying him off the pitch and sending him to hospital. Since the tackle, a distraught Eysseric has come out and apologised to Clement claiming he never meant to injure the player as he did.
The injury to Clement was severe enough to keep him out for the foreseeable future and he faces a tough uphill struggle ahead of him to recover from this career setback. But with modern medicine as it is today, Clement should make a full recovery and is expected to feature in the league next season at some point. For Eysseric the challenge will haunt him for the next few months and will only really disappear when he sees Clement back playing again. The same cannot be said for Denis Irwin who still feels guilt to this day about his part in the career ending tackle on Buust. It was indeed an accident but even some accidents are hard to forget.
To see the challenge on Clement, Click here: *Warning some viewers may find it upsetting* : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fon7V9x8bBk