Mike Tindall's 'near-death' experience revealed in I'm a Celeb jungle as he makes campmates squirm

The former England rugby star told I'm A Celebrity campmates about how he 'lacerated his liver' during a match.

Mike Tindall injured during 2008 rugby match split layout with Mike in I'm A Celebrity
(Image credit: Getty / ITV)

Mike Tindall has opened up on his worst rugby injury, leaving I'm A Celebrity campmates (opens in new tab) squirming at the 'life-threatening' injury.


Since entering the jungle, Mike Tindall has impressed campmates with his firelighting, rapping, and calm spider catching skills but he left people squirming when he opened up on the worst injury of his rugby career.

The former rugby union player, who is married to Zara Tindall (opens in new tab), played outside centre for Bath and Gloucester, and won 75 caps for England between 2000 and 2011, was a member of the English squad which won the 2003 World Cup.

During a discussion about his sporting career, Owen Warner (opens in new tab) asked him, "Did you ever get knocked out on the pitch?" 

To which Mike replied, “I haven’t been knocked out on the pitch…I’ve had flashing stars twice but then that’s about it. You normally bang your head on the floor or something."

And Charlene White (opens in new tab) asked, "What’s your worst injury from Rugby?"

“I broke two of my ribs, punctured my lung and lacerated my liver…” Mike teased.

The camp fell silent, encouraging Mike to play down the injury, “It’s the worst sound, it actually wasn’t too bad though…I dived on someone’s heel, it was a freak thing. I dived on his heel so the heel had broken the ribs and then the studs have gone underneath.”

Campmates squirmed at the thought. "God that sounds so painful," said former England Lioness (opens in new tab), Jill Scott (opens in new tab).

Owen added, “I bet you wanted to play on after.”

Mike stressed, “NO I did not.”

And fans have reacted, with one tweeting on his casual manner, "Mike telling the camp he broke 2 ribs punctured a lung and lacerated his liver so nonchalantly. #ImACeleb."

Another viewer tweeted, "Mike talking about breaking ribs, puncturing lungs and lacerating his Liver like it's no big deal..."

You can watch some of Mike's best rugby moments in the clip below...

How serious is a lacerated liver?

A lacerated liver is when there is a tear in the liver tissue and they range in severity from mild to very severe or fatal. It is the most commonly injured organ in abdominal trauma from both blunt and penetrating sources. 

How long does a liver laceration take to heal?

Healing of a simple liver laceration and subcapsular hematoma occurs in two to four months, whereas complex injuries require up to six months.

The tackle Mike spoke about involved Welsh opponent, winger, Mark Jones and happened in front of Zara, who had been cheering him on – midway through the second half of the 2008 match against Wales at Twickenham.

It left him with a misplaced rib that first punctured a lung and then tore a hole in his liver, which began to bleed.

At the time he spent three nights in intensive care at Hammersmith Hospital in London where, where Zara and his desperately worried family endured an agonising wait by his bedside while doctors monitored his condition until the bleeding stopped.

But speaking for the first time following his ordeal, he told the DailyMail (opens in new tab), “I don't feel sorry for myself. Far from it. I feel incredibly lucky.”

Mike only realised how close he had come to death after the bleeding stopped and doctors were certain they would not have to operate to save his liver.

Speaking in 2008 he said, “I didn't realise it but it turns out I had a big tear in my liver. It was more than an inch wide and about an inch deep and my condition was compounded by air released between the lungs and ribs from the hole in my lung.

“The biggest concern was my internal bleeding. I lost two pints of blood into my membrane. Luckily it clotted and stemmed the flow.

”If it had leaked out much more and floated around in my stomach then I would have been in big trouble.

“The blood eventually got reabsorbed but, for a while, I felt really bloated.

”Still, I'll settle for that, just as I'll settle for the fact that I'm out of rugby for a while. It's a lot better than lying in intensive care waiting for an operation.”

He added, "...I'm just glad to be here to talk about it.”

I'm A Celebrity continues tonight at 9pm on ITV.