Richard Keogh, the 33-year-old Irish national who also captains Derby County in the English Championship, is likely to be remembered as a grim cautionary tale for years to come. What is it that’s going to have people ruefully saying, “Oh yeah, I remember that guy!” years from now? Unfortunately for Keogh, it’s that he just had his season ended by an injury he suffered during a rowdy night of drinking.
The Telegraph was first with the news, reporting that Keogh and teammates Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett were involved in a car accident Tuesday night that resulted Keogh tearing his ACL. Keogh was a passenger in the backseat of a car driven by Lawrence, which managed to get into a collision with a lamp post and a separate car being driven by Bennett. Both Bennett and Lawrence were arrested and charged with drunk driving.
With news of the accident getting around, Derby County took the somewhat extraordinary step of releasing a statement admitting that Keogh was injured in the crash, and airing out the three players involved for being drunken dumbasses who didn’t know when to call it a night:
As a club, we cannot, and do not, condone the actions of a small group of players on Tuesday evening.
The players were out as part of a scheduled team-building dinner with staff and while the majority of them acted responsibly and left at around 8pm and were not involved, a small group, including the team captain Richard Keogh, continued drinking into the night. They should have known when to stop and also ignored the opportunity to be driven home using cars laid on by the club, and chose to stay out.
As a result of an alcohol-related incident, Richard Keogh has sustained a serious knee injury that will prevent him from playing until the end of the season.
The players involved in the incident on Tuesday evening will be subject to a rigorous internal investigation under the club’s code of conduct and disciplinary procedures, but over and above any punishment they receive we will be expecting them to become involved with the excellent work the Community Trust does helping the communities we serve.
We have been very clear about our attitude towards alcohol and the players know that at certain and specific times of the season they are permitted a drink together as a group in a controlled environment.
Those involved in Tuesday’s incident know they will pay a heavy price for their actions, but also that we will support them with their rehabilitation back into the squad and team.
We fully support the work of our partners at Drinkaware and the unsanctioned actions of this small group of players is totally at odds the stance that both Drinkaware and Derby County Football Club take regards alcohol. We will be using this situation to redouble our efforts in highlighting the dangers posed by alcohol.
We would also like to thank the emergency services for their swift help.
Keogh’s been a mainstay in Derby’s defensive back line for years, making 315 appearances for them over the last seven-plus seasons. The center back is under contract with the team until 2021, but coming back from an ACL tear isn’t easy for a 33-year-old player who has logged as many miles as he has. He’ll probably do everything he can to get back on the field, though, if for no other reason than to not end up as the guy who had his career ended in the back seat of his drunk teammate’s car.