Facial fractures

Facial fractures can occur in football following direct head clashes and blows to the face from a fist, arm or elbow (whether accidental or illegal).

Nasal fractures are the most common fractures around the face, and while these usually recovery well, nasoethmoidal fractures can occur where the injury extends through the ethmoid (these can leak cerebrospinal fluid). Other areas include the zygomatic arch and zygomaticomaxillary (cheek) fractures. Alveolar fractures (above teeth) can cause multiple teeth to become loose.

Surgery for elite NRL, AFL and rugby players is a treatment considered more often to ensure stability and a potential earlier return from injury. Darren Lockyer of the Brisbane Broncos had three plates inserted after sustaining a fractured cheekbone in the 2011 semi-final against the St George Illawarra Dragons.

One of the most severe facial fractures affected Richie Barnett of New Zealand, who collided with Wendall Sailor during the Anzac Day rugby league test in 2000 and required surgery which ruled him out for 9 months. Another case involved James Hird during the 2002 AFL season. Brisbane Lions captain, Jonathan Brown, sustained facial fractures on two separate occasions during the 2011 season.

Illegal blows causing facial fractures are often dealt with very harshly by the tribunal or judiciary, for example Luke O'Donnell of the West Tigers was suspended for 11 weeks in 2003 as his late tackle broke an opponent's jaw.
Jonathan Brown facial fractures
Jonathan Brown of the Brisbane Lions suffered facial fractures in a sickening clash with team-mate Mitch Clark during their Round 17 loss to Geelong on Sunday July 17, 2011.
(Image sourced from Sky News)
Brett Kimmorley facial fracture
Bulldogs' playmaker Brett Kimmorley taken off the field with a depressed cheekbone fracture. He had a head clash with the NZ Warriors' Jerome Ropati in Round 25 on 30 August 2009.
(Image sourced from The Daily Telegraph)
Name Team Onset Year Sport
Van Humphries Reds R 5 2012 UNION
Patrick Lambie Sharks R 5 2012 UNION
Shaun Treeby Highlanders R 11 2012 UNION
Tyrone Roberts Knights Trials 2012 NRL
Reece Robinson Raiders R 1 2012 NRL
David Mead Titans R 2 2012 NRL
Frank-Paul Nuuausala Roosters R 6 2012 NRL
Travis Burns Panthers R 14 2012 NRL
Luke Kelly Eels R 19 2012 NRL
Sam Kasiano Bulldogs R 20 2012 NRL
James McManus Knights R 19 2012 NRL
Jarrod Croker Raiders Finals Week 1 2012 NRL
Shaun McKernan Adelaide R 15 2012 AFL
Jonathan Brown Brisbane 2011/Pre Season 2012 AFL
Taylor Hunt Geelong R 21 2012 AFL
Charlie Dixon Gold Coast R 7 2012 AFL
Seb Tape Gold Coast R 1 2012 AFL
Tom Scully GWS NAB Cup 2012 AFL
Josh Gibson Hawthorn R 2 2012 AFL
Daniel Nicholson Melbourne R 18 2012 AFL
Nathan Foley Richmond R 2 2012 AFL
Daniel Archer St Kilda NAB Cup 2012 AFL
Jarryn Geary St Kilda R 9 2012 AFL
Ben McEvoy St Kilda R 21 2012 AFL
Luke Parker Sydney R 1 2012 AFL
Lewis Roberts-Thompson Sydney R 2 2012 AFL
Matthew Rosa West Coast R 18 2012 AFL
Dylan Addison Western Bulldogs R 14 2012 AFL
Brendon Leonard Chiefs Pre Season 2013 UNION
Akona Ndungane Bulls Round 5 2013 UNION
Tawera Kerr-Barlow Chiefs Round 6 2013 UNION
Dale Coles Hurricanes Round 9 2013 UNION
Callum Bartlett Brisbane Round 3 2013 AFL
Marc Murphy Carlton Round 12 2013 AFL
Josh Thurlow Geelong Round 14 2013 AFL
Jack Hombsch Port Adelaide Round 19 2013 AFL
Shane Mumford Sydney Round 11 2013 AFL
Will Schofield West Coast Round 22 2013 AFL
Matthew Boyd Western Bulldogs Round 14 2013 AFL
Nick Lower Western Bulldogs Round 21 2013 AFL
Michael Talia Western Bulldogs Round 5 2013 AFL
Michael Morgan Cowboys Pre Season 2013 NRL
Nathan Smith Eels Pre Season 2013 NRL
Justin O'neill Storm Round 2 2013 NRL
Blake Ferguson Raiders Round 4 2013 NRL
David Mead Titans Round 6 2013 NRL
Luke O'Dwyer Titans Round 7 2013 NRL
David Mead Titans Round 10 2013 NRL
Robbie Farah Tigers Origin 1 2013 NRL
James Maloney Roosters Origin 2 2013 NRL
Adam Docker Panthers Round 19 2013 NRL
Willie Mason Knights Round 20 2013 NRL
Marika Koroibete Tigers Round 22 2013 NRL
David Fa'alogo Knights Round 23 2013 NRL
Ray Thompson Cowboys Round 24 2013 NRL
Adrian Lejier Melbourne Victory Round 19 2013-14 ALEAGUE
Reece Caira Wellington Phoenix Round 21 2013-14 ALEAGUE
Derick Minnie Lions Round 2 2014 UNION
Henry Speight Brumbies Round 5 2014 UNION
Joseph Tomane Brumbies Round 13 2014 UNION
Jacques du Plessis Bulls June Friendly 2014 UNION
Nick Frisby Reds Round 17 2014 UNION
Tom Lynch Adelaide Round 7 2014 AFL
James Podsiadly Adelaide Round 19 2014 AFL
Lachie Henderson Carlton Round 19 2014 AFL
Mitch Robinson Carlton Round 19 2014 AFL
Patrick Ambrose Essendon Round 19 2014 AFL
George Burbury Geelong Pre-season 2014 AFL
Viv Michie Melbourne Round 3 2014 AFL
Matt White Port Adelaide Finals Week 1 2014 AFL
Josh Kennedy West Coast Round 11 2014 AFL
Jarrad Grant Western Bulldogs Round 14 2014 AFL
Jerome Ropati Warriors Round 4 2014 NRL
Joel Edwards Raiders Round 11 2014 NRL
Corey Parker Broncos Round 13 2014 NRL
Matt Scott Cowboys Origin 2 2014 NRL

Back to top