Footballer's knee injury 'worse than car crash'

THE KNEE injury which ended the career of the Chelsea footballer Paul Elliott was worse than most car-crash injuries, a surgeon told the High Court yesterday.

Anthony Hall, an orthopaedic consultant to Chelsea, told the court that it was the worst football injury he had seen and was caused by an impact more forceful than being hit by a car.

Mr Elliott, 30, is suing Dean Saunders and his former club Liverpool for negligence over a tackle during a game in September 1992. Damages could run into millions of pounds.

The action, seen as a test case, is the first involving two high-profile players over an injury on the pitch. Mr Saunders, who now plays for Aston Villa, may have to pay the damages himself if he is found to have been reckless.

In a statement to the court, Mr Hall said: 'I very rarely see a case where not only is the ligament torn but also the next layer down. This is indicative of an exceptionally violent impact.

'I think that Paul's knee must have opened as much as two inches. I have considerable experience of bodies hit by cars. The injury in this instance is more serious than most of them and shows a more forceful impact.'

The former Chelsea coach, Don Howe, accused Mr Saunders of deliberately injuring Mr Elliott in the game between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield. He said Mr Saunders deliberately slowed down to allow his opponent to make the tackle so he could stamp on his knee.

Denis Wise, the England and Chelsea player, raised laughter as he tried to describe the game's intricacies to lawyers. While explaining the details of a tackle, Mr Wise told Antony Berrisford, representing Mr Saunders: 'You have never played football, obviously.' Later, as an exasperated Mr Berrisford looked at the ceiling, Mr Wise added: 'There is no need to get the hump with me.' He described the tackle as reckless and said the Chelsea players were 'not happy with it'.

Mr Berrisford said Mr Elliott had been penalised for the tackle by the referee and had been trying to 'put the frighteners' on his opponent early in the game.

Colin Mackay, representing Liverpool, said Mr Saunders jumped to avoid a 'clattering' from Mr Elliott.

The case continues today.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test