Although many Croats may not have heard the fight for health of Branimir Poljac has been big news in Turkey and Norway. The 26 year old Norwegian of Croatian parentage, had been making a good impression with Konjaspor who he helped guide to promotion last season. However April 2010 he was involved in one person car accident in which the car he was driving flipped on its roof. Poljac suffered seriously injuries and for a time was completely paralysed.
Unlike many smaller name Croats that go abroad, Poljac was making waves at his club as a goalscoring midfielder and before his injuries had 11 goals in 40 matches. A strong 2010/11 season may even have caught the eye of Croatian national team coach Slaven Bilic or alternatively his Norwegian counterpart. For now though Poljac considers himself lucky to still be alive and with the help of medical staff is slowly trying to restore movement in his body. He is able to move his shoulders and is beginning to regain feeling in his arms.
Football is littered with inspirational figures who have come back from the brink and for Poljac this will mean just to return to health. Ivan Klasnic of Bolton Wanderers overcame two kidney transplants, whilst Uruguay international Dario Silva - a once feisty striker of Malaga and Celta, overcame leg ambutation and is a much admired character.
For Croatia several players have been lost their lives to car accidents with Silvestar Sabolcki and Milenko Kovacic the most high profile. Daniel Popovic was also Ivica Olic's strike partner in the Croatia Under 21 team, whilst Varteks goalkeepers Krunoslav Kittner and Krunoslav Sabolic were also lost in the Sabolcki crash.