It’s been an eventful week for the doctors, physiotherapists and general medical backroom staff in sport, this week. Not only did Victoria Azarenka slip and experience a nasty fall that pulled a few muscles in her legs, she emitted a scream that, no doubt, was heard as far as remote parts of Mongolia.
The Lions, too, suffered a huge setback this week with 33- year- old Paul O’Connell snapping his right forearm, which brought his Lions tour to an end. The Limerick man is set to stay on with the panel, working in an unofficial coaching capacity.
Here, we look at other sportspeople whose injuries irreparably changed the their careers.
1. Michael Owen
Charismatic and with no shortage of pace in his legs, recently retired striker Michael Owen electrified the England football team during 1998’s World Cup campaign, netting important goals that reminded many a BBC pundit of English legend Gary Lineker at his peak. Owen’s career would never fully recover from a hamstring injury that Owen sustained at a match against Leeds during his days at Liverpool and his career was plagued by recurring injuries.
2. Brian O’Driscoll
It’s hard not to think of Paul O’Connell’s recent injury on the Lions tour and not think of the horrific injury endured by BOD. The spear tackle executed on O’Driscoll during the 2005 Lions match with New Zealand must be one of the worst incidents ever recorded in the game. Forever a talking point among supporters and pundits, it’s an in incident in O’Driscoll’s illustrious career which the star centre refuses to speak about.
3. Sonia O’Sullivan
The nation held its breath when Sonia O’Sullivan lined up in the women’s 5,000m final at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Though O’Sullivan’s injury relates to a stomach upset, which she claims disrupted her performance, one suspects O’Sullvan completely lost all focus and nerves seemed to have affected the Cork legend’s performance, more than anything. Like all true champions, she would later stage a comeback in 1998 at the European Athletics Championships in Budapest.
4. Dean Ashton
While on International duties with the England football team, former West Ham United centre forward Dean Ashton suffered a tackle from Shaun- Wright Phillips in training that shattered his left ankle in an injury that would prematurely end his football career at the age of 26.
5. Monica Seles
Easily one of the most shocking injuries to be inflicted on anyone on or off the filed of play, the 1993 stabbing of Monica Seles by obsessed Steffi Graf fan Günter Parche sent shockwaves throughout the world of sport. Traumatized by the incident, Seles- who was enjoying the greatest successes of her playing career- stepped away from competitive tennis for two years.
Words: Philip Cummins