Rugby players who played despite SERIOUS health issues, including England star Henry Slade

A lot of Rugby players face serious injury during their career, but others suffer other health issues throughout their careers, which only makes them more inspiring.

1. Ian McKinley 

Now, protective wear in contact sport is not that uncommon, but it’s not all that usual in rugby. There is always a reason for it and Ian McKinley’s story is no different.

He made his professional debut for Leinster back in 2009, but was forced to retire from the sport in 2011. Why? A teammate’s stray boot perforated his left eye in a club game the year before. He played some club rugby after that, but then had to have more operations.

He had developed a cataract which he had to have removed. And he had to have his retina re-attached. Casual. Amazingly, despite all of this, he returned to professional rugby in 2014 thanks to his snazzy goggles.


2. Henry Slade

Slade signed his first professional contract with Exeter Chiefs at the age of 18, the same year in which he also developed type 1 diabetes.

Now aged 22, Slade has adapted to life with diabetes, but admitted there was a moment he thought his career may have come to a premature end.

Slade says: “All I could think was: ‘I want to be a rugby player’ and I was questioning: ‘Can I do that?’”

Fortunately for Slade, he was told his rugby career would not be jeopardised, providing he was able to control his diabetes.