Shawcross and Ramsey
After Chelsea fell to Man City earlier in the day a much-anticipated late game in todays schedule saw Arsenal attempt to re-enter the title race with a win at Stoke. They managed it with a 1-3 win but the result was overshadowed by a truly awful injury to Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey after a tackle by Ryan Shawcross (video here) (pictures).
I missed the original incident in the real time feed. I saw someone on the ground quite motionless, I saw a close-up of a pale looking Fabregas looking like he was going to throw up and Vermaelen crouched down with his head in his hands. Players from each team looked concerned and it immediately reminded me of the Edwardo incident all over again. I was pretty sure Ramsey’s leg had snapped in two, and unfortunately it turned out to be the case. He was stretchered off and play eventually resumed but I stopped watching at this point. I no longer cared about the result and it was just depressing trying to watch the players move one and play out the remaining 15 minutes.
As merely a fan I have no idea what it feel like to suffer or cause such an injury, but it hit me hard. Looking at the other player’s struggling to deal with it on the pitch it’s clear how badly it’s effecting them, and it’s hard to not be affected. The impact is clear on their faces as they each realise that at any point it could be them suffering a potentially career ending injury. In this case it is no consolation that it is a team-mate, a colleague, a friend. A 19-year old Welsh international with the world at his feet.
It is many child’s fantasy to one day become a premiership player, but you don’t envy this. As a 9-5er going to the office everyday at least it’s some reassurance to know that you’ll return from work with all your limbs intact.
A special kind of pain is reserved for someone in Shawcross’s position. It was clear as the 22 year-old left the field in tears that he was deeply traumatised by having committed the tackle that led to the injury. I don’t believe it was malicious, just unlucky, consensus among people I’ve heard from seems to be that Ramsey’s studs had stuck and his leg was going the wrong way before the tackle. It’s a contact sport and it only takes one awkward collision at speed for devastating consequences. It certainly was the case when Edwardo suffered a similar injury against Birmingham almost 2 years ago to the day. If his studs had not caught in the ground as they did, it could have been a simple free-kick and a foul of no significance. Thankfully he made a full recovery.
The result of the match seems insignificant now. I just hope Ramsey can recover and return as a player still relatively young and fulfill the great potential he promises. I hope Shawcross can accept that without malice it is only misfortune that leads to such an event. I hope he can still play hard and physical without the fear of a repeat incident. To succeed at the top level takes a full commitment of all you’ve got.
One positive to take from this is that medical treatments for such injuries have improved lately. Ramsey received the proper attention promptly and was hurried to a pitch-side ambulance. Eduardo and Henrik Larsson have proved that players can return from horrific leg breaks to play top-flight football, lets hope Ramsey can join them.