Football can be a very dangerous sport, and it has a long history of concussions and other injuries that could end a player’s career. When it comes to serious injuries related to football, it appears that getting a ligament or tendon injury is actually worse than breaking or dislocating a bone in terms of recovery. Here are the worst soccer injuries that forced 5 of the greatest players into early retirement.
1. Ryan Mason – fractured skull
The former Spurs star suffered a fractured skull while playing for Hull against Chelsea in January 2017. Mason was rushed to hospital and forced to undergo high-risk surgery to save his life. After a prolonged treatment and on the advice of medical specialists, he was forced to retire from professional football in February 2018.
2. Luc Nilis – double leg fracture
Luc Gilbert Cyrille Nilis is a Belgian professional football manager and former player who is the head coach of Belgian Division 2 club Belisia Bilzen. He enjoyed a successful career in his native Belgium and, in particular, in the Netherlands with PSV. Nilis suffered one of the most horrific injuries in sport history, never mind football. A collision with the Ipswich goalkeeper shattered Nilis’ right leg in two places, and even though medical treatment was at hand, the damage was too much to repair. Nilis quit the game in 2000 after the incident; a blossoming career brutally cut short.
3. David Busst – double leg fracture
David John Busst is an English football manager and formerly professional player who played as a centre-back from 1991 until 1996. Having started his career with non-League Moor Green, he moved to Premier League side Coventry City in August 1992. Having made over 50 appearances for the Sky Blues, he suffered a broken leg during a match with Manchester United in 1996 which ended his career. His injury is often considered as the most horrific in the history of the Premier League.
4. Dean Ashton – ankle fracture
Dean Ashton is an English former professional footballer. He made over 240 appearances as a forward in the Football League and Premier League for Crewe Alexandra, Norwich City and West Ham United, and was capped by England. He was highly praised as a talented centre forward, but had a career frustrated by injury. He retired on 11 December 2009, aged 26, after failing to recover from a long-term ankle injury sustained during international duty with England.
5. Ben Collett – double leg fracture
Benjamin Collett is an English former outstanding footballer who played as a central midfielder for Manchester United club under management of Sir Alex Ferguson. Ben Collett was 18 when he was playing in the reserve team for Manchester United against Middlesbrough’s reserve team in May 2003. As a result of a high tackle by Middlesbrough's Gary Smith, Ben Collett suffered a double leg fracture of the right tibia and of the fibula. The injury eventually forced Collett's retirement from football, after spells with the New Zealand Knights and AGOVV Apeldoorn.
6. Pierluigi Casiraghi – ligament injury
The Italian striker came to England in 1998 with 90 career club goals and 44 caps to his name. In his two years at Stamford Bridge he would add just one more goal to his name and never feature for his country again. He played for Chelsea just ten times before a cruciate ligament injury halted his career. Like Luc Nilis, he collided with a goalkeeper, this time West Ham's Shaka Hislop, and he would never play again.
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