Having began his career in the non-league pyramid with Moor Green, Dave Busst signed for the Sky Blues in August 1992 and he had gone from playing in front of minuscule crowds to facing the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United in the Premier League.
He had to wait until January of 1993 to make his professional debut in an FA Cup tie versus Norwich City, and then three days later he faced the Canaries once more, this time making his bow in the top flight of English football. Everything looked bright for the defender.
Then, three years later, on the 8th April 1996, it all came to a standstill. Coventry were playing Manchester United at Old Trafford, and with less than two minutes on the clock, Busst advanced into the area to attack a corner. As he looked to get on the end of the delivery – crack. Time stopped.
He got caught in between the challenges of Brian McClair and Dennis Irwin at the far post, with his right leg breaking horrifically. Whilst Busst lay writhing in pain on the turf with compound fractures to his tibia and fibula, United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel apparently vomited having seen the severity and he needed counselling afterwards, along with several of the other players who featured in the match.
Nine minutes then passed as Busst was treated on the field and he was eventually stretchered off, with the huge amounts of blood from his leg being washed away with buckets of water and sand. To this day, the injury probably ranks as the worst ever suffered on a football pitch and it ended his career at the age of 29.
Following his enforced retirement and a total of 26 operations on his leg, Busst still carries a nasty scar which reminds him of the incident. To add further misery, he contracted MRSA in hospital and that stripped away a large proportion of his leg muscle, but he still remains upbeat and he continues to represent the Sky Blues in the role of Director for Sky Blues in the Community.
Now 50, he has played an integral part in building the programme over recent years and it continues to be a success across the city of Coventry and other areas of Warwickshire too. They ‘increase opportunities to take part in a range of sports and physical activities, improve health and wellbeing, promote education, learning and personal development and support inclusion amongst disadvantaged and underrepresented communities’ – SBITC website.
For more information about Sky Blues in the Community, head over to their site or follow them on Twitter @sbitc_ccfc.