Football Surprise Stories – Duško Krtalica

It’s that time of year when the Six Nations (rightly) takes centre stage in the British sporting world – with England aiming to win a record 14th grand-slam, regaining it from last year.

Rugby Union fans sometimes look down on football for not being as manly a sport as itself and fall around on the floor as soon as their touched to try and win a foul. Whilst I agree with the premise that diving is a massive problem in football, football can be a dangerous sport – as Duško Krtalica proves.

At 2 o’clock on the 18th June 2013, 51-year old Krtalica was started in an amateur tournament in the Boljakov Potok suburb of Sarajevo (Bosnia). The Bosnian was performing well and his side were very much in the match. Before the end of the match however, Krtalica complained of a stiff neck, achy arm and his speech began to slur. He thought this was from just a slight concussion after he collided with the post after making a save earlier on in the day.

His symptoms failing to go away, Krtalica went to hospital where it was found that he had a 9mm bullet lodged in his cranium, at the same height as his hypothalamus. The goalkeeper had played a match of football (only conceding one goal) when he had been shot in the head in the first few minutes.

Krtalica immediately went to a neurosurgeon who operated on him and he has made a full recovery, and has played for his side since. Neurologists in Paris suggest that if he was hit in another part of the brain, he would have died. But who would shoot a goalkeeper in the head playing in a football match?

According to reports it would be Seyne Ligata, a 42-year old local who was attending one of 3 weddings in the suburb and shot a few (at least 12 were found on the pitch) celebratory bullets, with one finding its way into Krtalica’s skull. Ligata was arrested by local police and his punishment unknown.

Rugby Union players cannot call football players (especially Bosnian goalkeepers) wimps anymore, thanks to the heroics of Duško Krtalica – football’s bulletproof shot-stopper.



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