Connacht centre Dave McSharry has been forced to retire from professional rugby because of concussion, the Irish province confirmed on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old former Leinster academy player took the decision to quit after meeting with a neurologist last week, who advised him to retire.
In February the former Ireland U-18, U-20 and Irish Wolfhounds star was ruled out for the rest of the season on the advice of a neurologist, following a series of concussions in the previous twelve months.
Dublin-born McSharry joined the Galway-based club in 2011 and went on to make 64 games for the current Pro 12 champions. The strong-running former Templeogue College and UCD student played a crucial part in Connacht’s historic campaign last season.
McSharry had this to say about his retirement (via Connachtrugby.ie):
“Although I am devastated that my time as a player has come to an end, I know that it is the only decision available to me after speaking to the specialist.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a professional rugby player with Connacht Rugby. I arrived here as a 21-year old and Galway became my home over the past five years.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank IRUPA, all the supporters, volunteers, staff, players and my friends and family for their continued support over the years.
“I would also like to thank all the coaches who have helped me along in my career, from my schoolboy days in Templeogue College, right through to UCD and into the professional set-up.”
McSharry’s retirement once again brings into focus the burning issue of concussion-related injuries in the professional game.
Hefin Jones, Pundit Arena