Pull the other one: Darius Vassell and the electric drill 11 years ago

Pull the other one: Darius Vassell and the electric drill

It's January, and everyone has the head down for a health and fitness push. Fingers crossed you can enjoy the sort of injuries that befall people like Darius Vassell. In the first of a new series looking at crazy sports injuries, we recount the tale of Darius Vassell trying to fix a foot injury with an electric drill. That’s right, an electric drill.

By Conor Heneghan


A few weeks back, under-fire Blackburn manager Steve Kean revealed the real reason why defender Scott Dann was facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

“The boy has only gone and ruptured his wee testicle,” Kean said (or words to that effect), and we can only assume that Dann himself was mortified with embarrassment at his manager’s account of his quite desperate situation.

Did Kean have to tell the football public all the gory details? Would a ‘groin injury’ not have sufficed?

In 2003, Darius Vassell was in a similar situation, but the then Aston Villa manager Graham Taylor is not exactly the shy and retiring type and had no problem telling the world the exact reasons behind Vassell’s foot injury.


Troubled by a blister that had surfaced beneath the nail on his big toe, Darius did what any self-disrespecting footballer would do and attempted to drill through the nail in an attempt to drain the fluid from the blister and return to a pain-free existence.

Taking the ‘You can do it if you B and Q it’ approach to a whole new level, Vassell subsequently picked up a blood infection in his toe and had to have the entire nail removed, missing a few crucial games for the Villa in the process.

"He really shouldn't have been trying to sort the problem out himself. There are people on the staff readily available to have treated the problem,” said Taylor at the time.

"Darius tried to get the blood out himself, which he now realises was not really advisable.


"I am not certain he looks after his feet properly. It was giving him pain and it seems he used a medical implement to try to drill the nail.

"The outcome was it still caused him pain and was infected,” Taylor added, presumably before lecturing Vassell with the line “Do I not like that, Darius”.

Footballers mightn’t be renowned for their high intelligence or intellect, but using an electrical drill to try and self-medicate yourself? Come on. If they were trying examine their own heads for faint signs of life, maybe, but drilling through your own toenail? The mind boggles.

An amusing if unfortunate tale for Darius Vassell, but words alone don’t do it justice, in fact the bizarre but hilarious foreign animation below sums it up better than we ever could.