Danny Higginbotham left opponent lifeless from challenge that ‘scared’ him

Danny Higginbotham has remembered the time he was left “really scared” after a nasty collision left Steve Livingstone with a fractured skull.

Higginbotham was playing for Derby County at the start of the 2002/03 season when they travelled to Grimsby.

The Rams won the match but the result paled into insignificance with Livingstone rushed to hospital following the clash of heads.

Higginbotham, speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Southampton vs Brighton, explained: “We'd just been relegated and we played Grimsby.

“I went up for a header with Steve Livingstone – a proper physical centre-forward. He won the ball and I headed the back of his head.

“It knocked me sideways, but he was on the floor lifeless. It was horrendous.

“All I was thinking was 'oh my God; what have I done?'. There was no intention there from me whatsoever, but it was awful.

“To see this player on the pitch who'd had a really good career – I was really, really scared. It really scared me.

“The ambulance actually came onto the pitch and he was taken off with a fractured skull.

“I’ll never forget it; I sent him flowers at the time, it's not going to make up for anything but that was something I wanted to do.”

Though former Manchester United man Higginbotham added that there appeared to be a grudge from Livingstone.

He added: “I think I saw him in the reverse fixture and apologised to him again but I don't think he was interested in speaking to me. And I get that, but there was no intention from me whatsoever.

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  • “But I have no right as the player who caused the injury to tell the injured player how they should feel – regardless of there being no malice in the challenge.

    “You don't have a right to say to a player ‘you should tell me it's OK and that you forgive me’. That's up to the individual player.

    “All I can say from my experience with Steve Livingstone was that it was a scary moment for me. It took me a while to get over it.

    “It was only when I knew he was going to be OK that I felt a little bit better.

    “But if he holds any grudges against me for that, I have no issues with it whatsoever because at the end of the day, I've fractured his skull.

    “Who am I to tell him how he should feel about the whole incident?”

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