Ulster second-row Pete Browne has announced his decision to retire from the game, with immediate effect, after suffering repeated concussions.
Browne, 30, revealed that he met with a neurological specialist who helped him realise that hanging up his boots was the right thing to do.
Commenting on his decision, he told Ulster: “Over the past couple of seasons, along with other injuries, I have suffered a number of concussions. In all of those cases (apart from my most recent head injury, which took longer), I have made a quick and full recovery and, thankfully, I have no long-term symptoms.
“However, through the expert medical care at Ulster, headed by Dr Webb, and having seen a neurological specialist, it is clear that I have an increased propensity for concussion symptoms following any head injury. Therefore, with that counsel, and after speaking to family, I have made the extremely tough decision to retire from the game I love.
“Looking at the situation rationally, and trying to remove emotion, the objective is my long-term health alongside all the other passions, hopes and goals I have for my life.”