Rory Best has revealed that he needed surgery on his nose as he was struggling to breathe, thanks to the damage done by a long career in professional rugby.
The former Ireland and Ulster captain retired after Ireland’s exit from the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan but Best has only recently had his nose fixed by a specialist.
Best was speaking on BBC Radio 5’s weekly rugby union podcast and explained how the IRFU paid the bill for his extensive nose reconstruction.
“It’s part of the IRFU exit medical. You have 12 months to get anything that happened during your rugby career fixed.
“My nose, I know it doesn’t sound like I can breathe out of it at the minute. I was really struggling to breathe. I went and saw the ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist.
“He said my nose wasn’t fantastic, which was clear to see. They repaired it two weeks ago today. They straightened it a bit.
“The right-hand passage was completely collapsed. The left-hand passage had partially dropped into my cheek, I think. They repaired all that and straightened it up,” Best said.
Life after retirement
While it wasn’t so long ago that best was running around the rugby pitch with Ireland, the former hooker felt he would no longer be able to play at the required intensity.
“The great thing about lockdown, you’re six months down the line without rugby, and you’re watching games going, ‘There is no way I could possibly play at that level any more’.
“When you first retire, your immediate instinct is, ‘You know what, I reckon I could still play here’.
“That’s gone from me. It’s a big mental challenge, that. It’s been to have a bit more time with the family,” Best commented.
While the Ulsterman did not rule out a possible coaching career in the future, he is not quite ready to dive back into the world of rugby.
“At the minute, I’m not quite ready [to get into coaching]. I probably will do a little bit of mentorship, helping some of the young players if they need that.
“Longer term, rugby’s in my blood. I love watching games, trying to pick games apart and seeing what you might do differently. Maybe, longer term, I would get back into it,” Best explained.