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Waiting for the Next Big Soccer-Celebration Injury

December 30th, 2016 · No Comments · Angels, Football, soccer

Someone will get hurt.

Actually, lots of someones already have.

OK, then. Someone else will get hurt. Seriously hurt. This weekend or next. Or both.

Soccer’s goal celebrations. Out of control. Mindless, actually.

Exuberance perhaps is to be expected, following something as rare (in many soccer games) as a goal.

However, in their enthusiasm to celebrate, soccer players put themselves at risk of major injury. In one sad case, a celebrating player landed on his head and suffered a fatal injury.

Here is the story on the fatal injury, which occurred as a scorer attempted to execute a back flip in a lower-division game in India several years ago.

Soccer injuries seem to fall into a handful of predictable forms.

–The running scorer who, without warning, is ambushed by a teammate who jumps on his back. Ruptured disc, anyone? (Often made worse by additional players arriving to celebrate on/with the player who often has been knocked to the ground.)

–The player who scores and attempts to hurdle a wall of advertising, or a fence — and does not quite make it. Or has no idea what, exactly, is on the other side of the wall or fence. In one case on this youtube compilation of soccer celebration injuries, a leaper seems to fall down a stairwell.

(A variant of this is leaping into the stands, which has all sorts of things that can go wrong. Kevin DeBruyne of Manchester City this season missed several games after sustaining a hamstring injury after a multiple-player leap into the stands.)

–The player who climbs a fence, which in many nations keep the fans from getting onto the field. In an infamous incident, the Brazilian Paulo Diogo got his new wedding ring caught on the fence and as he attempted to get down much of his ring finger was torn off. (He also was shown a yellow card for “time wasting”.)

–A player tries a gymnastics move, usually a back-flip or a round-off, and it goes badly wrong. As in the case of the fatality mentioned above. A Brazilian player wrecked his knee. The UAE’s top goalkeeper, Majed Naser, suffered a snapped Achilles tendon and missed a season.

Interesting thing about celebration injuries? Many teams attempt to cover them up, presumably because the injuries are so stupid and so unnecessary.

Maybe some rules are required. Clubs could ban players from jumping on teammates who have scored. Hugs, yes, climbing, no. Nobody goes over a fence. Ever. No leaps into fans. No gymnastics moves.

Soccer by no means is the only sport that produces celebration injuries.

Ohio State’s Ted Ginn suffered an ankle injury as teammates buried him after he returned the opening kick for a touchdown in the 2007 NCAA football championship game. Kendrys Morales of baseball’s Angels broke an ankle in 2010 while jumping on home plate, surrounded by teammates, after a game-winning grand slam. Etc., etc.

But only soccer really makes me squirm, every time, as a celebration begins to brew. No padding, no body armor, a sense of whole teams out of control as they plan to assault the scorer, the certainty that most of them have not actually thought out what they are going to do … or how it may ruin a teammate’s night — or career.



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