Inspiring Stories About Football & Disability: Eight Players We Admire

8 football players who played with disabilities
8 football players who played with disabilities

Football is one of those sports that has fans from every corner of the world. People love following the teams they support, and most fans have at least one favourite player. The world’s best footballers are famous for a lot of things, including the fact that some of them have different disabilities.

Speaking of the devil, revealed some of the most famous footballers who played with disabilities. All of them are iconic and will go down in history as some of the best. “I have always been interested in watching these players in action. The fact that they’ve played with different disabilities does not mean they did not perform well. On the contrary, all of them have been amazing”, said Kristiyan from NB.

But which are these 8 football players that stood out? Well, it’s time to learn more about them. Most of the names you are about to see are no longer playing, but some can be seen on the pitch.

Common Football Injuries Infographic

1. Edgar Davids

Edgar Davids is one of the most famous Dutch footballers who has participated in many different teams. Most of you probably remember him when he played for Ajah, but he also played for Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur, and more.

There is no arguing Davids was one of the best players during his time. Besides his exceptional skills, players will also remember him for wearing protective goggles when playing. He needed them because of glaucoma.

Edgar Davids

He had to undergo surgery in 1999 after catching glaucoma in 1995 following an eye accident. Edgar Davids wanted to continue to play, so he decided to wear these special protective goggles.

2. Petr Čech

Petr Cech

There are many world-class goalkeepers, but many football fans will agree that Petr Čech is one of the best in the world. He is incredibly interesting for a lot of reasons, which explains why most people like him a lot.

Petr Čech was a professional footballer who played for a lot of big clubs. However, most people will always associate him with Chelsea, where he spent 11 years. After leaving the club, Čech was a part of Arsenal for 4 years (until 2019), which was when he decided to retire from football. What’s interesting right now is that he is an ice hockey player and is the goaltender for Oxford City Stars.

Since the topic of the article is about footballers who played with disabilities, we need to mention Čech’s head injury. It took place in 2006, and the player had to go through surgery because of a skill fracture.

There were many rumours about what would happen to the player and if he would be able to come back. Fortunately, we saw him in action in 2007, but after the accident, he had to wear a special rugby-style headguard.

Interestingly, this headgear was made by a specific company that did not sponsor Chelsea, which caused tension between the club and its sponsors. Fortunately, they developed their own version of the headgear, meaning Čech could wear it without worrying about the club’s sponsors.

Following the accident, Petr Čech used this headgear until he retired. Despite that, he continues to be one of the best in the world and one of the most famous footballers who played with a disability.

3. Alex Sanchez

Alex Sanchez

Alex Sanchez is one of the most interesting footballers who played with disabilities. The 35-year-old has had an interesting career that started in 2008. Since then, he played for various teams with Zaragoza and Osasuna being the most notable.

Even though he is a striker, Sanchez is not famous for the number of goals he scored. Instead, most people will remember him for being the first footballer to play with just one hand. This happened in 2009 when he was a part of Real Zaragoza.

Alex Sanches was actually born without a right hand. This, however, did not prevent him from dreaming big and achieving his dream. After making his debut, the player became a role model to all kids who had disabilities and wanted to pursue a career in sports.

Considering his influence, Sanches has decided to write a book about his story and the struggles related to his situation. What’s also interesting about the player is that he has a Master’s degree in Politics and a PhD in Law. It’s safe to say he is among the most engaging professional footballers in the world.

4. Tim Howard

Tim Howard

Moving on to another famous goalkeeper, we have Tim Howard. He was one of the most popular US soccer players and had a key role in all the clubs he was a part of, including Manchester United. However, it definitely wasn’t easy for him because he had obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette syndrome.

According to Howard, he was 10 years old when the symptoms started to appear. He was unable to focus in class, and school was never something he was interested in.

Over the years, Howard has done a lot to help people who are going through the same thing as him. He is probably the most famous person with Tourette syndrome worldwide and has been praised many times for raising awareness about this thing.

The fact that he is among the footballers who played with disabilities did not stop him from becoming a US soccer legend. Besides Manchester United, Howard also played for New Jersey Imperials, New York Red Bulls, Everton, Colorado Rapids, and others.

5. Omar Elabdellaoui

Omar Elabdellaoui

The next footballer who played with disabilities is Omar Elabdellaoui. Born in Norway, the 32-year-old may not be as famous as some other names on the list. However, he was a part of several big clubs, including Feyenoord, Olympiacos, Galatasaray, Hull City, and more.

Similar to Edgar Davids, Dellaoui had to play with special protective glasses. However, instead of having glaucoma, the player was in an accident during the New Year celebration. According to reports, a firework exploded in his hands and it also affected his eyes.

The player had to undergo serious treatment and was out of the pitch for more than one year because he had ten eye surgeries. Once he could play again, Omar Elab Dellaoui wore special glasses.

6. Ravel Morrison

Ravel Morrison

Born in 1993, Ravel Morrison is a footballer who has played for many different teams over the years. His professional career began in 2010, and since then, he has been a part of Manchester United, West Ham United, Cardiff City, Middlesbrough, and many others.

The midfielder is known for several things, one of which is the fact that he has ADHD. This was found in 2011, when Morrison played for Manchester United. Interestingly, the club tried to convince the football authorities that the player had to take his medicine for his disorder, but that request was declined.

Besides being one of the footballers who played with disabilities, he is also a very controversial player who has been involved in a lot of legal scandals. He even pleaded guilty in 2023 to fraud because he got a disabled parking permit.

7. Bobby Convey

Bobby Convey

The 41-year-old player may not be as recognizable as some of the other names mentioned so far. The footballer has been a part of several big clubs throughout his career, but most people will remember when he played for Reading.

If you learn more about him, you will see that he is among the footballers who played with disabilities because he was blind in his left eye. According to the information we have, this happened after damaging his optic nerve.

Despite the injury, Convey was a key player for all of his clubs. This is especially true for Reading because the US soccer player helped it reach the Premier League.

8. Nacho Fernandez

Nacho Fernandez
Source: BTA

The last footballer we want to include in this article is Nacho Fernandez. He is a 34-year-old full-back who has been with Real Madrid for more than 15 years. Currently, he is playing for Al Qadsiah.

Besides his loyalty towards Real Madrid, Nacho Fernandez is famous for several other things. He has a brother called Alex and he’s also a professional footballer. Another intriguing fact about Nacho is that he has type 1 diabetes since he was 12 years old.

It goes without saying, but the Spanish player has won almost everything in football. He had the chance to play alongside some of Real Madrid’s best players, including Cristiano Ronaldo.

As we’ve seen, the fact that some footballers have issues outside the pitch did not prevent them from living up to people’s expectations. On the contrary, some of them will go down in history as the best in the world.

We are lucky to live during times when most people can achieve their dreams, even if they have some kind of medical problem. Technology is only getting better, so we can only hope that things will get even better in the future.

Veselin Ignatov
Veselin IgnatovVeselin's primary job is to create unique content, such as reviews and analyses of different bookmakers and other topics from the iGaming industry.

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