England and Hull City midfielder Ryan Mason has retired from football at the age of 26.
Mason suffered a fractured skull while contesting for a corner with Chelsea’s Gary Cahill in January 2017, and hasn’t played since then.
Hull released a statement on Tuesday announcing Mason’s retirement with immediate effect.
“Ryan has sought the guidance of numerous world-renowned neurologists and neuro surgeons who have all advised that a return to competitive football is not advised,” read the release.
“Ryan would like to put on record his thanks to all at the club who have aided his recovery to this point and he his is indebted to them for their support and compassion over the past 12 months.”
“I can confirm that following specialist medical advice I am having to retire from playing professional football,” Mason said in a statement.
“I have worked tirelessly in order to be able to return to the pitch. Unfortunately, having taken expert medical advice I now have no option but to retire due to the risks involved given the nature of my injury.
“I am and always will be eternally grateful for the incredible network of people around me who have helped me to recover from what was a life-threatening injury in January 2017.
“Thank you to my amazing fiance, Rachel, who has been by my side and lived every single day with me since the injury, helping to give me the strength I’ve needed no matter how tough things got.
“We are so lucky to have now become the proud parents of our perfect baby boy George.”
Mason is a product of the Tottenham youth system and won his only England cap against Italy in March 2015 before departing for Hull in the August of the following year.
“I am so proud to have come through the ranks to play for my club, the club I love,” he added. “To have had the honour of captaining the team fills me with immense pride.
“Representing my country is an honour that nobody can ever take away from me and something that I am so proud to have achieved.
“I’m retiring from the game with my head held high having done everything in my power over these past 13 months to have given myself every opportunity to return to the pitch.
“I love the game, I always will and I am excited to see where football will take me next.”
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino had some kind words for him, saying the future was bright for him.
He said: “He is and will always be a special player for me because he represents a little bit this change in all the processes when we arrived at Tottenham. He was a very successful player, and sure he will be a very successful person in football, and everything that he is going to do. It is very sad news but it opens up a massive future. He is 26 but he is an amazing person and has an amazing football brain.”
“Of course the door is open to help him; everybody at the club loves him and all his family. In the last few days he was at the training ground.”
Pochettino sent a direct message to the unlucky English midfielder from the Allianz Stadium press roon: “Don’t worry Ryan because you are going to be a successful person in football, also outside of the pitch, I have no doubt about that.”
Gary Cahill also revealed his pain at the news.
He tweeted after the news: “Devastated to hear today’s news from Ryan. Competing for a corner is something we’ve done thousands of times and to see those consequences for a top professional like Ryan is heartbreaking. Sending all my love to him and his family, and wishing him the best for the future.”