“Break a leg” is a common phrase usually reserved for performance-based activities. For Nathaniel Kerr and Stuart Parsons, however, it took on a whole new meaning… and a decidedly unlucky one.
The incident in question occurred in Hazel Grove, Stockport during an amateur soccer match. Kerr, a 27-year-old member of the AFC Gold Cup, tackled Parsons, a 30-year-old member of the Emigration pub team, “long jump” style during a match on August 30th, 2014. A referee said Kerr’s tackle of Parsons was the most aggressive act he’d seen in a soccer match. There also seemed to be little doubt that the act was intentional.
It seems to have been triggered by an argument between Parsons (picture on right) and Kerr’s teammate Justin Hayhoe earlier in the fateful match. Perhaps it was witnessing contention directed at a teammate of his that inspired Kerr to take on an ill-fated attempt at vigilante justice, and as a result, destroy Parsons’ career.
It was only moments later that Kerr jumped in the air and savagely brought all his weight down on Parsons’ leg, breaking his ankle in two places. He then added insult to injury, mocking Parsons and calling him a wimp as he lay writhing on the ground in agony. He singled out teammate Justing Hayhoe whom he appeared to be “defending” shouting “I’ve done this because of you!” at him.
But, as one might expect, Kerr’s aggressive course of action did not go the way he anticipated. Hayhoe, didn’t hesitate to testify against him and in favor of Parsons. He made it clear that Kerr’s behavior was completely unanticipated and unacceptable.
Parsons was rushed to the hospital after the assault where he spent several long months recovering. The damage to Parsons’ ankle was devastating and required reconstructive surgery and the insertion of a pin and a plate. Aside from the physical trauma, the injury also had devastating effects on Parsons’ career. Self-employed at the time of the assault, Parsons’ window cleaning service folded while he underwent physiotherapy. It was perhaps a quote by police officer Louise Spencer that best summarized the difficult situation. She said, “This injury has had a catastrophic effect on the victim’s life, meaning he has been unable to work or support his young family.”
She then went on to add, “He is self-employed and the injury meant he was forced to rely on the kindness of his teammates, who arranged fundraisers and charity events to provide the financial support he needed.”
Fortunately justice is being served, as Kerr now faces a year in jail. It is one’s hope that Parsons can recover from this injury and reclaim the parts of his life he has lost to it. And though Kerr has so far shown little contrition for his appalling actions, perhaps his time in prison will force him to adopt a less sociopathic attitude.
If there is a lesson that is to be learned from the incident, it is one that goes all the way back to childhood: don’t be a poor sport!