EPL: 17 Most Embarrassing Injuries in League History
Injuries are no stranger to football, and the more aggressive athletes are, the more prone they are to picking up a nagging wound that will cost them some time to recover.
When it comes to injuries there's the good (injures a player can walk off and return), the bad (injuries that might make a player need to be subbed off), and the ugly (injuries that might cause them to miss a game or even several to recover).
However, there's a fourth category to injuries: the downright strange and embarrassing.
Some of the injuries on this list may have come about from on-pitch shenanigans, while others might have come from crazy antics off of it.
Here are 15 goofy gaffs that will go down in history as some of the most notoriously nonsensical injuries in the history of the English Premier League and English First Division.
17. David Batty
Ah, the joys of children.
David Batty will no doubt never forget the memories of his daughter's younger years.
And also more than likely he will never look at a tricycle the same way again.
While playing for Leeds United, Batty was healing from an already-acquired ankle injury when his recovery faced a serious setback from his daughter running him over on her tricycle.
The injury damaged his Achilles tendons and kept him out of the side for several additional weeks.
Talk about a story for his daughter's wedding day...
16. David Beckham
For all his wisdom and legendary status, Sir Alex Ferguson is no stranger to the human emotions of anger, frustration and the ensuing lashing out.
After Fergie's Manchester United side lost a 2003 FA Cup tie to Arsenal at Old Trafford by a 2-0 score, he was apparently so belligerently angry that he kicked a football boot at star player David Beckham.
The boot struck Beckham above the left eye, causing him to need stitches to close the wound.
Lesson learned: don't ever play poorly for Manchester United... you might piss off Sir Alex and he just might hurt you.
15. Liam Lawrence
For thousands of years dogs have been man's best friend, but the storied relationship hasn't come with a few betrayals here and there.
Liam Lawrence will testify to this.
While retreating to the loo late one night, Lawrence was unfortunate to trip over the family dog, sending him down hard and spraining his ankle, causing him to miss the Potters' next match against Portsmouth.
Can you imagine the look on Tony Pulis' face when he heard that story for the first time? And then the look when he realized he'd have to make the announcement of the injury to the media and tell the story himself...
14. Perry Groves
If this next injury wasn't already completely real, you'd swear this was ripped right out of a Looney Tunes sketch.
Upon Arsenal scoring a goal to tie a match, Groves became so excited he jumped out of his seat on the bench to celebrate.
Unfortunately for him, he forgot where he was: in the dugout.
Groves bumped his head on the ceiling of the dugout so hard it knocked him unconscious, and causing him to need some serious attention from the team's trainer.
Cue the multi-colored card with the cursive writing that reads "That's all folks!"
Honorable Mention: Darren Barnard
Our first honorable mention gets onto this list because it occurred to a player outside the English top division, so thus it can't technically be included with the others, but still deserves some recognition.
Another lesson to take from this list: if you're a footballer, don't own a dog.
Man's best friend came back to bite Welsh-international Darren Barnard in the bum one day, causing him a long and tedious injury.
Everybody knows housebreaking a new puppy is a long and tedious process which results in a host of stains and messes to clean up.
One such messes proved to be too much as the former Barnsley player slipped in one of his new puppy's mess puddles on the kitchen floor, leading to a painful ankle ligament injury that kept him out for five agonizing months.
It's a good thing puppies are so cute. Otherwise I really don't think people would be so willing to bring them into their homes, particularly footballers.
13. Thierry Henry
I've really never understood going to the corner flag and punching it out of celebration. I mean come on... what did it ever do to you?
Well apparently in 2000, the corner flag at Highbury decided it had had enough of the one-sided punchings it was receiving and decided to retaliate.
Its victim? Thierry Henry, who ran to the corner to celebrate a goal against Chelsea and began punching the flag.
To his surprise, the flag punched back, smacking him right in the face.
Henry didn't appear to suffer any lasting effects as he didn't miss any time away from the team, but his ego more than likely took a pretty big hit.
Players around the world don't seem to be catching on to this plotted revenge of the corner flags just yet, however...
12. Richard Wright
Irony can be both incredibly sickening and amazingly hilarious.
Former Everton goalkeeper Richard Wright was warming up for his side's FA Cup tie with heavyweights Chelsea when he twisted his ankle.
That in itself is not too unusual right there but how did he manage to do it?
He landed on a wooden sign placed in the goal mouth that told people not to practice there.
He just couldn't use the temporary goals they had set up for the warm ups could he?
11. Darius Vassell
Medical work is most often considered a trade best left to the highly-trained professionals.
However, Darius Vassell fancied himself a bit of a do-it-yourself handyman one day, and the former Aston Villa striker found himself with a much bigger problem than he started with.
In 2003, Vassell decided to rid himself of a nasty blood-blister that had developed under his big toe by drilling through his toenail with a power drill into the blister itself.
Such a practice is not uncommon, but is normally done by professionals with experience and the proper tools.
Vassell did manage to relieve the blister, but instead gave himself an even bigger ordeal when the drill gave him a nasty blood infection and required half of the toenail to be removed.
He would miss the Villans' next match against Blackburn, leaving boss Graham Taylor none too happy.
10. Kasey Keller
It's always good to have a hobby away from the pitch to keep some activity in a player's life and break up the monotony of training and matches.
For former-Leicester City goalkeeper Kasey Keller, that hobby is the occasional round of golf, but the game so many players also relax with turned out to be the cause of one of the most ridiculous injuries on this list.
Was he hit with a wayward drive? Nope.
Keller's injury didn't even happen on the golf course, but instead while still in the parking lot.
As Keller was trying to remove his clubs from the boot of his car, he accidentally lifted too hard and hit his own mouth with the club heads.
The impact knocked out his front teeth.
While Keller never missed any time away from the squad, he did have to spend some unpleasant hours in the dentist's chair.
Honorable Mention: Chic Brodie
Our second honorable mention injury is one that also didn't occur to a player in the top flite of English football, but I just absolutely can't ignore it.
In what had to be one of the most bizzare incidents in a football match anywhere in the world, a 1970 game between Brentford and Colchester United was stopped when a stray dog found its way onto the playing pitch and began running freely.
The dog's few minutes of freedom came at a terrible price, however, when it collided with Brentford goalkeeper Chic Brodie, shattering Brodie's kneecap.
The injury was so bad it ended Brodie's career as a professional player.
When asked about it later, Brodie described the fiasco by saying "The dog may have been small.....but it just happened to be solid."
See? Like I said earlier... the relationship between man and dogs definitely doesn't come without a few betrayals here and there.
9. Charlie George
Ah, nothing's relaxing like a bit of yard maintenance, and nothing's quite as satisfying as seeing a freshly-cut and perfectly-groomed lawn.
However, one peaceful afternoon's yardwork was abruptly made much more traumatic for former Arsenal striker Charlie George, when he got in an accident with his lawnmower.
That accident saw George lose his big toe.
It's a good thing by that time he had pretty much already cemented himself as a legend to go down in Arsenal history because it's believed that he never really recovered from that injury to find the form he once had.
8. Johnny Durnin
Our next injury combines two things we've already seen on this list of embarassments into one super-goof: golf and autos.
John "Lager" Durnin, at the time a hotshot Portsmouth player, was off at the links playing a round of golf with his mate Alan McLoughlin on a beautiful day.
In fact, the day was so beautiful, it caught Drunin's attention while driving their golf cart.
Durnin, who was too busy enjoying the scenery, didn't notice where he was going until he drove the cart into a fairway hollow.
The impact dislocated the Pompey man's elbow and kept him sidelined for six weeks.
Durnin would later go on to tell the media he wasn't "Being silly or anything like that."
I want to know where this apparently breathtaking golf course is. Anyone fancy 18 holes?
7. Leroy Lita
What safer place is there in the world than the warmth and comfort of your own bed?
Well for Leroy Lita, nearly anywhere else.
While playing for Reading after their relegation in the 2007 season, Lita woke up one morning and did the usual morning stretch out under his covers... which pulled a muscle in his leg.
Lita didn't miss any time in the league or any major competition for that matter since it was during the summer, which I guess is about the only positive Reading could take away from the incident.
But man, talk about a lazy summer... the guy doesn't even have to leave bed to get himself injured.
6. Alan Wright
Footballers are definitely not an underpaid lot, and in fact many of them choose to use their wages to buy lavish things, prompting debates of whether they're being paid too much.
However, Alan Wright received a sweet bit of poetic justice upon buying himself a new Ferrari.
Wright, the former Aston Villa fullback stands a paltry 5'4" (163 cm) in height, making him the shortest players in Premier League history.
His injury? Upon trying to take his new sports car out for a drive, he proceeded to strain his knee reaching for the accelerator pedal.
"It gave me greif," Wright would go on to say later.
And no wonder... Wright went on to swap his car for a Rover 416 that he could finally reach the pedals on.
Honorable Mention: Svein Grondalen
My third and final honorable mention goes to an injury that didn't even happen in England, but is so incredibly bizarre that it can't go without at least some form of a mention.
While training for an international match with neighbors Finland, Norwegian-born Svein Grondalen had an incident that I don't think will ever be rivaled for sheer oddity.
While out jogging near his home, Svein unknowingly awoke a sleeping moose that was none too happy about being roused from its slumber.
The moose immediately charged Grondalen and sent him fleeing for his life, where he rolled down a hill to safety.
While rolling, he cut open his leg deeply, and had to limp back to town to get stitched up.
As a result, he had to withdraw from the match.
If anything positive came out of this one for Grondalen, it's that he was almost immediately promoted to cult-hero status.
And now on to the top-five most embarrassing injuries...
5. Shaun Goater
I like when referees book people for excessive celebration because there's times where it's necessary.
However, there's other times when a yellow card for going a little to wild over a goal would be just adding insult to injury... literally.
Shaun Goater will definitely tell you of one of those times that happened early in the 2003-04 campaign.
In a game against Birmingham in 2003, the former-Manchester City player went so crazy over teammate Nicolas Anelka's goal that he ran over and kicked down an advertising board set up on the side of the pitch.
Goater apparently injured his foot so badly he had to be substituted out of the game for it.
Just goes to show... never mess with the sponsors. They have the money and they mean to get their worth for it.
4. David James
If there's one thing to take away from this list, it's this: don't be a goalkeeper. Apparently they are incredibly prone to ridiculous injuries that emerge from stupid or mundane things.
For David James, who would have known that his stupid injury would come from something that seems as harmless as anything: video games.
David James was enjoying a session of playing some football on the PlayStation when he reached for the remote control and strained his back.
The injury cost the English keeper some time away from his club, an injury I'm sure his manager was none too happy about.
Since then, James has also blamed the PlayStation for his terrible form early in his career, in what has since become another one of the more laughable moments of James' career.
Sidenote: A similar injury happened to now longtime Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand while playing for Leeds United.
Four hours in to a long video gaming session, he realized he hadn't moved an inch, and when he finally did decide to move, he strained a tendon in his knee and had to get right back to that resting he was doing.
3. Michael Stensgaard
I have absolutely no idea how someone managed to pull this one off...
Michael Stensgaard had just arrived at Liverpool as the new understudy to David James in 1994.
However, before he could even see time in a match, Stensgaard managed to dislocate his shoulder while setting up an ironing board.
Yes, you read that right.
The injury wound up being so bad that it eventually turned into a series of recurring injuries that required surgery to fix.
Stensgaard never saw a single game in the Liverpool goal.
To this day his short and lifeless time at Liverpool is hailed as one of the worst fiascoes of a signing in club history.
2. Alan Mullery
Alan Mullery would probably love to change a few details about this notorious injury to save himself from not sounding like such a delicate pansy. Unfortunately for him, it's all over the internet so he pretty much can't.
When the English squad was on a tour of South America in 1964, Alan Mullery was getting ready for bed one night when disaster struck.
While brushing his teeth, Mullery found a way to throw out his back, rendering him unplayable for the entirety of the tour.
I mean, I know technology gets better and makes things lighter... but come on how heavy could that toothbrush have been?
Alf Ramsey, the England Manager at the time, must have been so very pleased to hear this story... assuming he wasn't laughing his head off.
1. Dave Beasant
And the winner is: more extreme irony!
While playing for Chelsea in 1993, renowned English-born keeper Dave Beasant got a bit hungry one afternoon and decided to make himself a salad.
Upon fetching the jar of salad cream from the refrigerator, Beasant fumbled the jar with his hands and dropped it.
His knee jerk reaction: to stick out his foot to try to prevent it from hitting the floor.
The jar severed the tendon in his big toe and kept him out for two-and-a-half months.
I'm not sure what's more embarrassing about this: The fact that Chelsea had to start their season without their first-choice keeper due to a non-football related injury, or the fact that the injury came because said keeper fumbled something with his hands.