Injuries are part and parcel of being a professional footballer.
However, the injury Alan Smith sustained in 2006 was one of the worst injuries English football has ever witnessed.
In an FA Cup match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield, Smith charged down a John Arne Riise shot which left him with a broken left leg and dislocated ankle at the age of 25.
Many would have retired but Smith continued playing and was recently picking up just £500-a-week at Notts County.
“I knew with the injury it would be touch and go whether I could carry on playing – the surgeon said that,” Smith has told the Mirror.
“It would have been easier to walk away and people remember you as a top Premier League player. But I didn’t want that, because I loved playing football. Your love of it makes you go through the pain barrier.
“Loads of people would say to me, ‘Why I am bothering?’ Whether I was earning £500-a-week or nothing, if people felt I could still contributed I wanted to keep playing.”
But Smith left Notts County in the summer and has since retired altogether.
So what is Smith up to these days?
Well, despite his long-lasting injuries, Smith has taken up another sport.
He’s now living in Florida and is set to coach youngsters surfing.
The Yorkshire-born former professional footballer has applied for a US visa is set to become a surfing instructor.
Sounds like a pretty good life.
But playing football in any capacity isn’t a possibility for Smith with his horrific injury coming back to haunt him.
“I went for a run in the summer and managed to do a couple of miles but stopped and started walking because my ankle was hurting. I went back last month and the surgeon said, 'I don’t want you doing any straight-line running', just because it will damage the joint,” Smith added
“It is always difficult to walk away but when you see someone and they don’t want you running, you know it is the right decision. I have no regrets, for me I see retiring early being the easy option.”
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