10. Adam Chapman
If nipple injuries are common in football, then those who are afflicted tend to suffer in silence. However, thanks to his manager revealing all in a post-match interview, Adam Chapman’s crippled nipple invoked much childish chuckling among the press. In October 2012, the young Oxford midfielder was raced to hospital ahead of the trip to Wycombe Wanderers after burning his nipple preparing a bottle of milk for his baby. Oxford boss Chris Wilder told a merry band of journalists: “He shook the bottle up and down, but he didn’t put the lid back on properly. Adam’s injury is not one I have ever known before. You get your thigh strains and hamstrings but not a burnt nipple.”
9. Rio Ferdinand
Knee injuries are common in football – it’s an occupational hazard. Twisting, turning, tackling, blocking; there are a myriad of ways to knacker your knee. As in many cases, the cause of Ferdinand’s tendon issues was over-use… of his PlayStation. Yes, the then Leeds United defender embarked on a marathon session of Pro-Evo while resting his feet on the coffee table, but the angle of elevation and length of time his leg was prone ensured another spell on the sidelines for the fragile one.
8. Darius Vassell
Another former England international and another embarrassing injury. During his time at Aston Villa, the pacy striker decided to self-operate on his annoyingly painful blood blister. However, his medical tool of choice was a power drill. Yes, the same piece of equipment you would use to puncture massive holes in concrete walls. To be fair to Vassell, his unorthodox technique did the trick and the blood blister was no more. However, the resultant blood infection caused a lot more aggravation. Maybe use a lathe or a hacksaw next time, Darius.
7. Richard Wright
Sticking with former England internationals… (honestly, Manchester City’s third choice keeper won two caps in 2000 and 2001.) The once promising custodian, a £6m ($12m) Arsene Wenger signing back in 2001, suffered a brace of embarrassing injuries during his subsequent spell at Everton. A nasty shoulder injury was the result of falling out of his parents’ loft, and he was then ruled out of the FA Cup fourth-round replay at Chelsea after suffering a freak injury during the warm-up. Ignoring a notice warning goalkeepers not to practice in the goalmouth, Wright promptly fell over the sign and damaged ankle ligaments.
6. Darren Barnard
What’s not to like about a puppy? Adorable, loving and fun, they can make that family home complete. However, a puppy almost ended former Welsh international Darren Barnard’s career. One of the side-effects of nurturing puppies is accidental soiling (the dog, not the owner), so it’s vital that you remain alert at all times – especially when you’re wandering into the kitchen first thing in a morning. Alas, Barnard slipped in his dog’s mess and ruptured ankle ligaments, keeping him out of action for five months.
5. Dave Beasant
You would think that a goalkeeper’s instinctive reaction to dropping something in the kitchen would be to attempt to grab it with his huge paws. Not so Dave Beasant. Soon after joining Southampton in 1993, the former England goalkeeper dropped a bottle of salad cream and attempted to control it with his foot. He severed a tendon in his toe and was ruled out for eight weeks.
4. Michael Stensgaard
When Stensgaard joined Liverpool in 1994, he was being touted as Peter Schmeichel’s natural successor in the Denmark national team. At the time, Liverpool custodian David James was under serious pressure – the nickname ‘Calamity’ is a moniker that no goalkeeper is comfortable with. James was possibly one more high profile mistake away from being axed, and Stensgaard was perfectly placed to take full advantage. That was until he suffered a nasty shoulder injury… putting up an ironing board. Stensgaard would never break into the first team and left Anfield in 1996.
3. Svein Grondalen
Countless players have been withdrawn from international duty by their protective club managers who daren’t risk their prized assets injuring themselves in pointless friendlies. However, when Norway boss Tor Roste Fossen was informed of Grondalen’s reason for withdrawal ahead of an important World Cup qualifier, he must have been skeptical in the extreme. In an attempt to maintain peak physical fitness, the central defender – known for his physical strength and uncompromising tackling – went for a jog near his home, but came off second best in a collision with a moose.
2. Steve Morrow
According to Rudyard Kipling, ‘If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same, then you will be a man, my son.’ However, surely disaster has never followed triumph quite as quickly as in the case of Arsenal’s Steve Morrow. In the 1993 League Cup final against Sheffield Wednesday, the promising midfielder bagged what turned out to be the winner. However, as the final whistle blew and the celebrations began, skipper Tony Adams hoisted the goalscoring hero into the air and promptly dropped him. Morrow broke his collarbone and was sat in the back of an ambulance as his teammates collected their medals. He missed the rest of the season – including the FA Cup Final – and never managed to cement a regular first place before being offloaded four years later.
1. Paulo Diogo
The next time a referee makes you take off all jewellery before a game in your local Ezpzen League, don’t start moaning – remember the case of Paulo Diogo and the lost digit. The then Servette midfielder celebrated Jean Beauséjour’s goal in a 4-1 win at Schaffhausen by jumping onto a metal perimeter fence to salute the travelling fans. Unfortunately, Diogo had forgotten to remove his wedding ring, which promptly got caught in the barrier and, as he returned to earth, he found that he was missing the top of his finger. Doctors were unable to successfully sew it back on, and, to make matters worse, he was booked for his excessive celebrations.
First published in Richard Lenton‘s regular column for The New Paper in Singapore.