Glasgow Warriors winger, Thom Evans, is to retire from rugby following the neck injury he sustained whilst playing for Scotland during the 2010 RBS 6 Nations Championship.
Evans collided with another player at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday 13 February and suffered a slipped vertebra in his neck.
Following the accident, the then 24-year-old received expert medical attention from members of the Millennium Stadium, Welsh Rugby Union and Scottish Rugby medical teams before undergoing two operations at the University Hospital Wales, part of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
On today’s announcement, which comes as a result of medical advice, Evans said: “When you’re told you can’t play the sport you love dearly, it comes as quite a shock.
“But taking everything into account, I can still do pretty much anything. I just can’t play a physical game such as rugby.
“I’ve been fortunate to have played six seasons at the top against some of the best players in the world. I’ll have those memories for the rest of my life.”
Career ending injury is a rare occurrence at the elite level of the game and although Evans’s injury has seen him retire from rugby, he realises that his situation is very uncommon.
“You can ask any rugby player who has had a freak accident and they will still tell you that rugby is the best game in the world,” he continued.
“Even though I can’t play the game, I’ll still be as enthusiastic off the pitch as I was on it.”
Evans has now set his sights on achieving success via his many other talents.
He continued: “No matter what the future holds, I know I will remain a big follower of my brother Max, Glasgow Warriors and the Scotland team for the rest of my life.”
Glasgow Warriors head coach, Sean Lineen, signed Evans from London Wasps in 2006 having seen the youngster run in a hat-trick of tries against Scotland whilst representing England U21.
He said: “I remember getting Thom up here after he played for England U21 and firstly realising what a great guy he is. I also saw a steely edge and a real competitiveness to his game.
“What has happened is unfortunate but it’s now in the past. I know that whatever Thom does in the future, he will succeed.
“It’s great we all had the chance to see Thom grace the rugby field and I am personally privileged to have coached him.”
Meanwhile, Scotland head coach Andy Robinson paid tribute the winger.
“On behalf of the Scotland management and players I want to wish Thom all the very best,” he said.
“Thom is a talented and resilient lad, and whatever challenges he decides to take on, he does so with our full backing and knowing that the rugby family will always be there to support and encourage him.”
Scotland team doctor and Scottish Rugby’s head of medical services, Dr James Robson, added: “While it is obviously poignant that Thom is retiring from the game, thanks to the skill and professionalism of all the medical professionals involved in Thom’s treatment and rehabilitation – as well as his own strength in body and mind – he can now look forward to leading a full and healthy life.”
Scottish Rugby president, Ian McLauchlan, said: “Thom was a great rugby player and remains a great ambassador for rugby.
“The injury he sustained is rare in rugby and when I witnessed it happen at the Millennium Stadium, I shared the concerns of many others around the world.
“As a governing body, Scottish Rugby takes player welfare extremely seriously and we do everything we can to ensure that the safety of our game is of paramount priority.
“Thom has shown great strength in character to bounce back so quickly.
“Thom has a great future ahead of him and everyone at Scottish Rugby, and the wider rugby community, is behind him every step of the way.”