Alex Johnson takes a look at three of the most shocking injuries since the Premier League formed in 1992, and how the players involved dealt with the trauma.
No amount of physical conditioning, match preparation, and tactical awareness can prevent some of the worst sporting injuries. While Premier League footballers are amongst the luckiest in the game's history in terms of their access to elite-level training facilities and the opportunities they are given to reach their absolute peak condition, they continue to suffer some horrific injuries.
Alf-Inge Haaland, Manchester City - Knee injury
Probably the most famous Premier League injury since 1992 was that of Alf-Inge Haaland, who suffered a revenge attack by then Manchester United captain Roy Keane in a derby encounter in April 2001.
The incident took on a new dimension when Keane opted to reveal his side of the story in his autobiography, admitting that he set out to hurt Haaland, who he said had accused him of faking an injury in a match four years earlier.
The foul damaged Haaland's stricken knee and also aggravated a knee complaint in his standing leg. He underwent two years of rehabilitation and was operated on by the same doctor in Ohio who saved the career of basketball legend Michael Jordan. But Haaland would play only 48 more minutes of professional football before enforced retirement took him out of the game.
Djibril Cisse, Liverpool – Comminuted fracture of tibia and fibula
A comminuted fracture describes a bone-breaking into more than two fragments. Such injuries occur in high-impact situations, and it is not uncommon that they end the careers of sportsmen and women unlucky enough to suffer them.
The fact that Djibril Cisse battled back to play again after suffering a comminuted fracture of his tibia and fibula during a match against Blackburn in 2004 is a testament to the incredible determination and remarkable recovery powers of the player.
As the video of the incident shows, it was not the most aggressive challenge that led to the break, but when moving at high speed, forces are exaggerated, and breakages such as these can quickly occur.
Petr Cech, Chelsea – Fractured skull
Football injuries are unpredictable, and while fans can arm themselves with a bet calculator to judge their team's chances of winning, they can rarely predict when an injury will befall a key player.
Severe head injuries are thankfully not too common in football, but Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech came close to losing his life when he suffered a fractured skull in the first minute of a game against Reading in 2006.
The incident looked far from malicious, but Stephen Hunt's failure to keep his leg clear of the goalkeeper's head led to Cech suffering a depressed fracture of the skull, and he collapsed in the changing rooms before being taken to a hospital. Doctors said the incident nearly cost Cech his life, but he recovered within three months to play again.
He continues to wear a head guard during games to this day, and the injury raised awareness of the danger of head injuries in football.
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About the Author
Alex Johnson is a freelance journalist who writes for the likes of Huffington Post and some of the larger sports publishers.