A Brief History of Sportsmen in Hospital Beds
In the modern age of social media connectivity, there is nothing strange about athletes posting images of themselves in a hospital bed. Apparently.
The rise of social media has created a fascinating subcategory of sports photography: athletes being photographed in a hospital bed after suffering a serious injury.
As a mere mortal, I would not been keen on this. I would not don my oversized flat-peak cap and get my PA to snap a thumbs-up photo of me to share with the world while recovering from surgery. But then I do not own a flat-peak cap, and my PA is useless, so what would I know?
And so here, to satisfy your morbid curiosity, is a selection of sportsmen photographed in their hospital beds. And yes, they are all men. This is not gender bias, we simply didn't come across any women who possessed the magic combination of extreme hubris and a camera. Say cheese, lads!
Let's start with a man who is very much at home in his hospital bed: it's operating theatre veteran and occasional footballer Jack Wilshere, who probably uses his thumbs more than his feet these days. Here's Jack after yet another successful operation, which he appears to have undergone wearing his hat. I guess when you've spent as much time with the doctors as Jack has, they'll let you get away with a few sartorial flourishes under the knife.
Next up it's Tyrone Mings, who cost Bournemouth a reported £8 million in the summer but suffered a very unfortunate knee injury during his debut. He'll be out for between nine and 12 months, but as this photo shows he won't let that get him down. Tyrone can be seen here wearing his famous double-decker hat and watching series two of Morse on his laptop (probably)
Away from football for a moment and on to Formula One. In pre-season testing this year Fernando Alonso crashed heavily and was briefly knocked unconscious, but as this jolly photo shows he was largely okay. Rumour had it that Alonso awoke having lost 20 years of his life – apparently he believed he was a teenage kart racer dreaming of F1, rather than a 34-year-old two-time world champion. This was never confirmed, however. Nor was the more recent suggestion that, after a nightmare season at McLaren, he regularly shuts doors on his own head to try to scrub the past 12 months from his memory.
Back to football. Here's Mo Salah chillin' on the treatment table next to Ashley Cole, who now lives in the Roma physio's room. And, if you look to the top right of the image, you will spy a mystery figure wearing his pants and lying face-down. Time for another exciting game of Name That Arse.
Here's Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois giving the thumbs-up to the fact he doesn't have to participate in his side's horrible shitstorm of a season. He may also have undergone successful surgery on his leg.
It's not just the players. Here's Southampton boss Ronald Koeman giving the all clear from his hospital bed after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon. And it's true what they say: there's nothing more sexually arousing on God's green earth than a middle-aged Dutchman wearing a blue smock.
Welsh rugby ace Leigh Halfpenny missed last month's World Cup with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, breaking a nation's heart and depriving a Manchester shopping centre of their Juan Mata impersonator for the best part of a fortnight. Fortunately Leigh is now on the mend.
Another F1 driver – Alonso's young countryman Carlos Sainz Jr – also found himself in hospital this year after crashing in final practice for the Russian Grand Prix. As this tweet shows, however, he was immediately keen to get back on track. Sainz was allowed to start the race, where he proceeded to crash again. Take a leaf out of Jack Wilshere's book, Carlos, and stay in the hospital.
Well, Shane Long's not really getting in on the fun of it, is he? The miserable sod. Look, he's not even smiling. Take that oxygen mask off your millionaire face and give us a grin, Long. Disgraceful.
OH YEAH NOW WE'RE TALKING! Manchester United's fun-loving youngster Luke Shaw may have knackered his leg against PSV Eindhoven, but it clearly didn't affect his zany sense of humour. Luke treated us to a trio of images from his hospital room and is seen smiling in all three, proving that a debilitating injury need not sap you of your joue de vivre. Look at this, Shane Long. Look at this and feel ashamed.