All it takes is just one dirty tackle to bring a footballer’s career to an abrupt end, ruining a lifetime dream. Football Weeks have highlighted three players that suffered career ending injuries.
David Busst – Coventry City
It was on 8 April 1996 when 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, Buust moved forward for a corner just two minutes into the match. Following a brilliant save from Peter Schmeichel, he collided at the far post with United players Denis Urwin and Brian McClair which resulted in extensive compound fractures to both his tibia and fibula in his right leg. Busst 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 the defender 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 series of operations including 14 in six weeks, the defender retired from football in November 1996 following advice from doctors. Since Busst retired, the defender had held a number of different roles at Coventry City and is currently director of the club Football in the Community programme.
Luc Nilis – Aston Villa
It was just Luc Nilis’ third Premier League appearances for Aston Villa when he bagged the injury which would end his career early. Nilis had joined the Aston Villa 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, Nilis’ time in the Premier League was cut short after colliding with Ipswich Town goalkeeper Richard Wright which tackle resulted in a double compound fracture of his right shin.
Initially Villa physios were hopeful about his chances of recovery, but was ruled out shortly after Nilis contracted a bone infection, and at one point, Nilis faced the possibility of having his lower leg amputated. He had to hung his boots not long after and has since had a number of off-the-field roles at numerous clubs. Nilis is currently a coach at PSV.
Dean Ashton – West Ham United
West Ham United striker Dean Ashton was at the top of his career. He had just signed for the Hammers after a successful time at Norwich City which saw him netting 17 goals in 44 League games and he was on the fringe of the England team. However, just eight months on from this, Ashton suffered a broken ankle following a tackle by Shaun Wright-Phillips during an England training session. Not only did Shaun Wright-Phillips’ tackle broke his ankle, it also caused extensive damage to Ashton’s medial ankle ligaments. It would be a year before he would again.
Whilst he did returnt to action for a brief period, Ashton 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 Daily 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”.
Ashton currently works for Sky Sports as a pundit and commentator.