Sporting Bravery and Injury

8 03 2010

Continuing our fascination with the hockey world cup that is being played in Delhi at the moment, a story this morning caught our eye regarding England’s left wing Iain Mackay. During Saturday’s 3-2 win over India, Mackay suffered a broken nose and has vowed to continue playing. As the Daily Telegraph wryly puts it this is fortunate as ‘the only other possibility if another England player is injured, is for second goalkeeper Nic Brothers to play left wing’.

The Compulsive Hooker team are lucky in that none of us have ever suffered a broken nose. We are pretty confident it is a painful injury and admire Mr. Mackay for putting England and potential glory first. This has inspired us to put together a short list of other cases where an individual has put themselves on the line for the cause of winning or avoiding defeat.

Some sports lend themselves to these particular acts of bravery more than others. Cricket for example is littered with them, as is horse racing, whereas other sports, such as football and rugby due to the contact nature and risk of more serious potential problems from playing on, often prohibit this sort of bravery. All of the specific examples we can think of are cricket related but we are positive there are many many more:

  • Colin Cowdrey (England vs West Indies, 1963): Cowdrey is famous for coming out to bat at number 11 during this match with a broken wrist and an over to go, with England trying to save the game. As it turned out he didn’t need to face a ball but the gesture said it all.
  • Malcolm Marshall (West Indies vs England, 1984): Having broken his thumb whilst fielding and heavily bandaged, Marshall managed to take 7-53 to win the game. Prior to this at the end of the West Indies first innings he had even managed to smash a four through the covers one handed.
  • Allan Border (Australia vs England, 1981): In an extraordinary display of grit, Border batted 377 minutes with a broken finger during the 5th and 6th tests of this amazing series. Anyone who remembers the troubles Nasser Hussain was frequently in with his ‘glass’ fingers throughout his career will be impressed by this.

In horse racing the equestrian world is so competitive, it is almost commonplace for a jockey to ride with a broken rib or worse, although we cannot find any specific examples. This is probably due to the fact that if one jockey were to make a song or dance of it he would be laughed out the weighing room.

We know there are many more examples in far more varied sports – please let us know what we have forgotten in the comments!

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3 responses

9 03 2010
Dingo

All time achievement award must go to the great all-black captain, Buck Shelford, who in a test match against France had his testicle “rucked” from his scrotum and at the same time took a knock that removed four teeth, he calmy advised the team doc to stitch the wayward testie back into place and returned to the field of play. Absolute true story.
ps, they lost the match.

10 03 2010
Bradders

That is a great one! I will add it to the list….

10 03 2010
Lynchie

Just a note on the jockeys. Yes they may be small but they are mighty tough! If you go to the index of Tony McCoy’s autobiography (widely regarded, based on his 3000 career wins, as the finest jump jockey to date) look for the word injuries and the list is extensive to say the least; ankle, broken legs, concussion, crushed vertebrae, fractured vertebrae, haematoma, head cut, recoveries, repercussions, shoulder. Many sportsmen at the top of their game have medical lists like these compiled throughout their careers but McCoy went through the pain barrier on several occasions in order to succeed. He even went from one race course to another in visible pain and continued to ride a winner. Later, on the way home from the track, he was vomiting from the pain in his shoulder only for the doctor to inform him that evening that he had a dislocated shoulder from the day before! Dedication or madness? Fine line I think, but still admirable.

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