Football professionals are logically at risk of missing out with an injury. Liverpool FC’s Jon Otsemobor once had to pause due to strange circumstances.
Not only since Manuel Neuer’s skiing accident a few weeks ago has it been known that football professionals can also injure themselves off the field. Most of the time, accidents of all kinds are to blame, sometimes they are very strange. Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio, for example, cut a pimple while shaving his leg, which became infected and forced a break. But Jon Otsemobor probably has the most unusual injury story.
The 39-year-old was under contract with Liverpool FC in October 2003 when he was sidelined for several weeks through no fault of his own. The reason: the Englishman suffered a gunshot wound. On his butt. How did this happen? For this we rewind almost 20 years in time.
Otsemobor grew up in the Liverpool area and played in the Reds’ youth academy. In November 2002, the son of a Nigerian father and an Irish mother had his heyday. In a cup game against Southampton, the trained right-back was allowed to play for his club’s professionals.
Jon Otsemobor: Suddenly in the dressing room with Steven Gerrard
“Suddenly I was in the dressing room with players like Steven Gerrard. But I wasn’t that nervous because I’ve already played for the youth team at Anfield,” Otsemobor recalled in an interview Planet football. Shortly thereafter, it went on loan to Hull City.
And when the Englishman returned to the Reds in the summer of 2003, it looked like a bright future awaited him. But the gunshot wound mentioned at the beginning should turn the ex-professional’s career upside down.
In October 2003, eleven months after making his professional debut, Otsemobor immersed himself in Liverpool’s nightlife. “My friend just became a father for the first time, we wanted to celebrate that. We went to a pub where Robbie Fowler had had problems a few months earlier,” the ex-kicker describes that evening at the beginning of the millennium.
“Then my mate was having trouble with a guy at the club and he took a gun from someone nearby, even though we told him not to. The first guy fired a pistol at me, presumably to scare me away, but the bullet hit me,” says Otsemobor.
Otsemobor: “My hand looked like it had been dipped in red paint”
At first he felt strange immediately after the shot. When he then felt the gunshot wound with his hand, all he saw was blood: “My hand looked as if it had been dipped in red paint.” In his friend’s apartment, Otsemobor was waiting for the emergency services to arrive, and his injury was being treated in the hospital.
“There I was told that the bullet went through me. If it had hit me a little further up, my hip would have been shattered. That would have been the end of my career,” says the 39-year-old, looking back on the conversation with the doctors.
Even if Otsemobor had recovered physically a few weeks after the incident, his reputation was no longer the best. Rumors circulated that the young man was involved in gang activities. But Liverpool still gave him another chance and five more competitive appearances. In his sixth game for the Reds, the right-back was injured against Manchester City. It was to be his last appearance at Anfield.
Injuries end Otsemobor’s career
Otsemobor then continued to tour England, playing for Crewe, Norwich City, Southampton and MK Dons, among others. In 2014 he had to end his career at the age of only 31 due to numerous knee injuries.
Although he had an illustrious career, he never made a big splash. And while Otsemobor made six appearances for Liverpool, his time at Anfield is arguably more associated with the odd gunshot injury than spectacular performances.