Top-10 Worst Soccer Injuries Of All-Time

Worst Soccer Injuries Of All-Time
Photo credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd

What are the most gruesome soccer injuries ever? Read on.

Being one of the most followed sports worldwide, the intensity of world football is one that may resonate. As competition in the sport gets more stringent, the game becomes more physical, making soccer injuries an inevitable occurrence.

Many who have suffered heart-wrenching injuries have gone through rehabilitation to return to the pitch. For others, injuries have forced them out of a seemingly glamorous career. But in some instances, the worst soccer injuries have not been the end of an injured player career.

In our latest piece of sports facts, we take you through history as we relive some of the most painful, gruesome, and worst soccer injuries of all time.

The Worst Soccer Injuries Of All-Time

10. Kieron Dyer Injury

Kieron Dyer injury
Kieron Dyer injury (Image credit: Sky News / MSN)

Bristol Rovers vs. WestHam, 18 Aug. 2007

An English footballer who was having a good career, Kieron Dyer played for Ipswich Town and Newcastle United before moving to West Ham United in 2007. Ten days after he made his first appearance for the club, Kieron Dyer suffered a harrowing injury against the Bristol Rovers in a Carabao Cup match. Kieron Dyer’s injury was so severe that his right leg broke in two places.

Seventeen months after his injury, the damage continued to plague his career. He later went on to play for Queen Park Rangers and Middleborough, before he retired. In a 2018 article published on the Daily Mail, he said retiring was a relief to him.

9. Gary Mabbutt Injury

Gary Mabbutt injury
Gary Mabbutt injury

Wimbledon vs Tottenham, Nov. 1993

Hailed, as a versatile player, Gary Mabbutt, who played for Tottenham Hotspurs, had one of the most gruesome injuries in soccer. It didn’t involve his leg but his face. In November 1993, Gary Mabbutt’s injury occurred in a high tackle with Wimbledon striker, John Fashanu, who smashed his elbow into his face. The injury left him with a fractured skull and almost cost his eye.

Gary Mabbutt had to undergo surgery for two hours to treat his damaged eye socket and a broken cheekbone. Mabbutt had to wear a plastic mask after a metal plate was inserted under his skin.

8. Bert Trautmann Injury

Bert Trautmann Injury
Bert Trautmann Injury

Manchester City vs Birmingham, 5 May 1956

An exceptional goalkeeper, Bert Trautmann, did what was necessary to keep the ball out of his goal. The Manchester City former goalkeeper who played for the club between 1949–1964 was involved in a neck injury in the 1955/56 season. Bert Trautmann’s injury occurred when he dived to catch an incoming ball but collided his neck against one of Birmingham players, Peter Murphy.

He continued to play for the remainder of the match. But after checking with doctors concerning pains in his neck, an x-ray revealed he had dislocated five vertebrae, and the second vertebrae cracked in two.

7. Eduardo da Silva Injury

Eduardo da Silva Injury
Eduardo da Silva Injury

Arsenal vs Birmingham, 23 Feb. 2008

Known as Dudu, Eduardo da Silva’s injury is one that fans will never forget in a hurry. In February 2008, Birmingham player Martin Taylor, tackled Silva who was playing for Arsenal then, which resulted in Silva dislocating his left ankle and a broken left fibula. The tackle was so bad that he had to be taken to the hospital immediately. However, he recovered from the injury and continued playing.

6. Federico Mattiello Injury

Federico Mattiello Injury
Federico Mattiello Injury (Image credit: VENEZIA FILIPPO/EPA)

Chievo vs Roma, 8 Mar. 2015

19 years at the time and on loan to Chievo from Juventus, Federico Mattiello got involved in a tackle in a match against Roma that kept him in a really awful state. After colliding with Roma player, Radja Nainggolan, in an Italian Serie A match on 8 March 2015, he had a fractured leg which required immediate medical attention. He was immediately taken to the hospital.

5. Petr Cech Injury

Petr Cech Injury
Petr Cech Injury. (Image credit: News Group Newspapers via The Sun)

Reading vs Chelsea, 14 Oct. 2006

Petr Cech is famous for his excellent goalkeeping and mask, which protects his head and face. The incident that made that mask an accessory Petr Cech is renowned for is one every soccer fan remembers. In October 2006, in a match against Reading, Petr Cech injury occurred when his head collided against one of the Reading players, Stephen Hunt.

Cech had to undergo surgery for a depressed skull fracture, and it was revealed that the injury nearly cost his life. He recovered from the injury and continued playing, but this time with his mask.

4. Luc Nilis Injury

Luc Nilis Injury
Luc Nilis Injury

Aston Villa vs Ipswich, 9 Sep. 2000

Luc Nilis was an excellent striker, who played for Aston Villa. Football legend Ronaldo listed him as one of the greatest strikers he loves playing. But that promising career was cut short when he crashed against Ipswich Town goalkeeper, Richard Wright, in September 2000. The crash left him with two compound fractures in his right shin. Luc Nilis’ injury was the end of his career. There were speculations that his injury was infected and may have to be amputated. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

3. Juan Arango Injury

Juan Arango Injury
Juan Arango Injury. (Image credit:

RCD Mallorca vs Seville FC, 20 Mar. 2005

A Venezuelan footballer, Juan Arango, played for the La Liga club, RCD Mallorca. In March 2005, in a match against Seville, Juan Arango’s injury occurred when he collided against Seville player, Javi Bavaro, in which his cheekbone broke. He also swallowed his tongue and became unconscious. He recovered and returned to action a month after his injury.

2. Patrick Battiston Injury

Patrick Battiston injury
Patrick Battiston injury

France vs West Germany, 8 Jul. 1982

A French footballer, Patrick Battiston, is most famous for the 1982 semifinal World Cup, which clouded the World Cup. In a high tackle, West Germany goalkeeper, Harald Schumacher hip hit Battison. Battison thus fell to the ground unconscious, knocking out his teeth as well as breaking his vertebra in the process. Patrick Battiston’s injury was so gruesome that oxygen was administered on the French man right there on the pitch.

1. Dave Busst Injury

Dave Busst injury
Dave Busst injury. (Image Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd)

Manchester United vs Coventry City, 8 Apr. 1996

An English defender, David Busst’s injury brought his career to an abrupt end. An unfortunate incident occurred in April 1996 in a match against Manchester United while playing for Coventry. Till today, Dave Busst’s injury has been rated as the worst soccer injury ever. After moving forward following a corner his team won, he collided against Manchester United players, Brian McClair and Denis Irwin.

The collision led to a broken tibia and fibula in his right knee. That match was delayed for nine minutes, and blood had to be removed from the pitch. His injured tissue contracted MRSA. Busst had a total of 22 surgeries. He retired in 1996 after receiving medical advice.

Bonus: Preston Burpo Injury

Preston Burpo Injury
Preston Burpo Injury. (Image credit:

New England vs New York, Feb. 2010

A goalkeeper for the New England Revolution of the Major League Soccer, Preston Burpo’s injury brought his career to an end in 2010. The incident occurred after he collided against New York Red Bulls player, Dane Richards, in a challenge. The challenge left his tibia and fibula snapped.

How to try and prevent soccer injuries

Early detection and early preparation can help reduce or straight prevent soccer related injuries on and off the field. The best way to protect yourself from the most common soccer injuries is to be aware what causes them.

Here’s how you can minimize the risk of an injury

1. Warm up before the game

This is common sense, but it’s best to warm up about 30 minutes before the match starts, try and focus on your leg muscles mostly as obviously these are the main muscles being used in a soccer match.

Pay close attention to your Achilles tendons and quads

2. Recover fully before playing – don’t play injured

Taking anti inflammatory medications and not giving your body enough time to heal or rest after an injury is risking a more serious injury down the road. It’s best to sit one match instead of missing many because of a serious injury.

3. Wear the right gear

I can’t stress this enough, there is a reason pro soccer players wear shields on their legs and sometimes more, you get hurt on the soccer field, you need to protect yourself. At a minimum, wear these:

  • Shin guards
  • Mouth guards
  • Knee an elbo pads

4. Hydration

Even if your body is slightly dehydrated, you risk the chance of more injury, a well hydrated body is more protected against injuries in any sport, and in soccer too.

Most common soccer injury types

The most common soccer injuries are ones called Acute or Cumulative

The difference between the two is that Acute is a blunt injury like breaking a leg while a cumulative injury is usually caused by wear and tear over time such as groin pulls.


What are your thoughts about these worst soccer injuries ever? Which gruesome soccer injury do you think should be on this list? Please share it with us in the comment section below.

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