Former Wigan Warriors player Darrell Goulding has been forced to retire from the game due to concussion worries aged just 27.
The Wigan-born centre spent nine years at his hometown club, with whom he won the Super League Grand Final in 2010 and 2013, before joining Hull Kingston Rovers in the off-season.
Goulding made eight appearances for the Robins before suffering a concussion in a 20-16 win against Huddersfield Giants on Easter Monday.
“I’ve had a lot of head injuries and concussions over the years and it’s probably a case of picking up one too many,” he said.
“Obviously, I’m gutted because I never expected to retire at 27 and I’ve been really enjoying my time with Rovers, so it’s come as a massive shock really.
“I’ve spoken to a lot of medical people and specialists and they’re concerned about the long-term damage I could do by playing on.
“I’ve got to think about my health after rugby and while every player just wants to get back out on the field, the time comes where you’ve got to listen to what these people are telling you.
“I’d like to stay involved in the sport in some way. It’s what I’ve known for so many years, I’ve got a lot of experience out on the field and probably helping the younger players coming through is what I’ll be looking at.
“I might take a bit of time off, have a holiday and take a bit of time away from the game and then come back ready to help the sport in a different way.”
Goulding joined Wigan from St. Pat’s amateur team and went on to make 174 appearances for the Warriors, scoring 72 tries.
He helped Warriors to Grand Final glory in 2010 and to a league and cup double in 2013.
Goulding is the second Super League player this season to announce their retirement from the game due to concussion injuries.
St. Helens’ half-back Lance Hohaia, 32, who lasted just two-minutes in last season’s Grand Final after being knocked out by Wigan’s Ben Flower, quit the sport in April because of ‘recurrent post-match concussion-type symptoms’.
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