Five footballers who died on the pitch after suffering on-field injuries
Peter Biaksangzuala succumbed to his injuries suffered in Mizoram League matchFootballers are known to give their all on the field. There is nothing new in them suffering injuries but what everyone worries about is dealing with those injuries instantly. When that injury turns fatal, it is a truly nightmarish situation. There have been many instances where football players have succumbed to their on field injuries. Here are five of them -
#1 Tommy Blackstock
Thomas Blackstock was a Scottish defender who had a great career at clubs both in England and his native Scotland. He was born in Kirkcaldy and died on the field while playing for Manchester United against St Helens on 8 April 1907. He headed a ball, collapsed and then died. It is one of the oldest and most bizarre deaths on a football field till date.
An autopsy returned a verdict of "Natural Causes" but Buckley, who was just a couple of yards away from Blackstock, believed he had died of a heart-attack or seizure. The Blackstock family was ill-treated by the Manchester United hierarchy of those times, and his injury saw the Association Football Players Union (AFPU) being formed in 1907 in Manchester.
#2 John Thomson
John Thomson is widely regarded as one of the finest goalkeepers ever to have graced the game. A tragic accident at Ibrox shortened his career and his life as well. He was part of the legendary Scottish team that won 2-0 against England in 1931.
Thomson was gravely injured a couple of times on the football pitch, damaging his ribs, jaw and collar bone. He also lost two of his teeth.
Desmond White, the chairman of Celtic, claimed Thomson was the best goalkeeper he had ever seen. He added: "Johnny had the ability to rise in the air high above the opposition. It was this almost ballet-like ability and agility which, in his tremendous displays, endeared him to the hearts of all Celtic supporters."
After playing in the away game against Rangers, Scotland's leading football journalist wrote: "I have no reason to change the opinion I first formed of young Thomson, the Celtic goalkeeper. Barring accident, he will one day play for his country."
The legendary Celtic goalkeeper died as a result of an accidental collision with Rangers player Sam English during an Old Firm match at Ibrox. He still revered at Celtic Park for his contribution to the club.
#3 Hrvoje usti
The Croatian U21 international suffered three massive blows to his head in a league game against HNK Cibalia in the Croatian first division on 29 March 2008. He suffered severe head injuries after colliding with a concrete wall which was positioned about three metres from the sideline, supporting the fence which separated the pitch from the stands.
Seconds earlier, usti had tried to win a loose ball in a duel with an opposing player, but then both players collided and usti was carried into the wall, hitting it with his head. The 25 year old was a victim of shabby infrastructure at the stadium.
usti was seen as an emerging prospect in Croatian football but sadly he didn’t live long enough to realize his potential.
#4 Cristiano Jnior
Cristiano Junior was one of the best foreign players to grace Indian football. He along with Baichung Bhutia formed the most dreaded strike force in India while playing for East Bengal. He then made his mega money move to Dempo but the move turned out to be ill-fated.
More than the injury itself, it was lack of medical negligence on the part of the federation which claimed the Brazilian’s life. According to current East Bengal and ex- Dempo coach Armand Colaco, Junior could have been saved but it did not happen as there was a clear lack of good doctors in the vicinity.
“If there was a good doctor, Junior could have survived”, said Colaco.
Junior collided with young Mohun Bagan keeper Subrata Paul, and was knocked unconscious on the ground due to the collison, as he eventually succumbed to the injury. Dempo retired his #10 jersey and registered a complaint against Subrata Paul, which saw him banned for three months.
#5 Jumadi Abdi
Jumadi Abdi was an Indonesian football player who played as a midfielder for PKT Bontang. The midfielder had represented Indonesia at U-21 level and was slowly rising through the ranks in Indonesian football. He died eight days after a collision with Persela's Deny Tarkas in a match between PKT and Persala on 7 March 2009 in Mulawarman Stadium.
His death showed the reckless side of football as a simple high footed challenge claimed his life.
The foul had severely damaged his stomach and intestine. He underwent a surgery to limit the damage, but could not live on post his surgery and breathed his last on 15 March 2009. Abdi’s death shook the Asian football fraternity to the core as they looked to focus more on limiting such instances.