Burnley keeper Cisak sues surgeon over injury
Alex Cisak was a 19-year-old Leicester City youth prospect when he suffered a wrist injury during a warm-up session in early 2009.
Now with Burnley, the 24-year-old said ongoing problems have left him unable to save more than a handful of shots in training before pain sets in.
“If I get pain in my wrist, I start leaving balls, which obviously isn’t very good for a goalkeeper,” he told the High Court.
Mr Cisak, a Polish-born Australia youth international, kept a clean sheet in the one start he has made since signing for the Clarets.
But he blames surgeon Bhaskar Bhowal, who treated him at Leicester Hospital, for his problems.
In his High Court damages claim, he said Mr Bhowal should not have cleared him to go back to playing in May 2009, only four months after his injury.
By then, the wrist fracture was at only 80% union, meaning it was too early for him to start facing shots, his lawyers claim.
Mr Cisak said his premature return to training led to him suffering more problems, which robbed him of a year of his career and put his development - and money-making potential - back even further.
He had to drop down to the lower leagues with Accrington Stanley and Oldham Athletic and has only this summer returned to the Championship, the court heard.
Giving evidence, Mr Cisak, who is currently second choice in net, said he can train normally until the strikers begin shooting practice.
The pain begins after a couple of saves, then he starts to let balls past him and he has to pull out, he told Mr Justice Phillips.
“I’m taking painkillers. I’m training at 75% of what I should be at.
“It has affected me,” he said.
Questioned by the surgeon’s barrister, John Whitting QC, Mr Cisak accepted he had received a “rave review” of his only start this season since signing for Burnley.
He had pulled off a string of saves, described in a match report as “agile,” “smart” or “neat,” while earning his clean sheet, but he told the court that all of them were with his left hand.
“If I did catch one with my right hand,
“I think it would cause some pain, but in that match all my saves were with my left hand,” he said.
Mr Whitting said Mr Cisak’s performance in that match – a 2-0 cup win against Preston North End – was not consistent with someone who can only manage a save or two in practice.
Leslie Keegan, representing the goalkeeper, said: “It is quite clearly his position that it was wrong in May 2009 to send a man with only, we say, 80% union, with a bone which didn’t have the full mechanical strength, back to a job where, when he had full mechanical strength, he had sustained a scaphoid fracture.
“It was wrong to send him back and it was wrong not to list him for review.
“If he had been listed for review, it would have become obvious that he was developing problems carrying out his professional job with this bone.”
Mr Cisak is claiming damages for his injuries and losses, including those related to lost wages because of delayed career progression.
Mr Bhowal denies liability and the hearing continues.