KEVIN MCLAUGHLIN, LEINSTER’S captain during the opening portion of this season, has been forced to retire on medical grounds.
The province have today announced that the flanker, who turned 31 at the weekend, has been advised to retire from the game due to “concerns about his increasing susceptibility to concussion and the length of recovery.”
McLaughlin was referred to a neurologist after sustaining his most recent concussion on the opening day of the Pro12 season in Edinburgh and the resulting recommendation was that the St Mary’s clubman should cut his career short.
“It is upsetting and frustrating to have to retire when I feel I have so much left to give but it is the right decision and I am glad that our medical staff were so pro-active in encouraging me to see a neurologist and getting his expert opinion,”said McLaughlin after 115 appearances for his province and eight caps for his country in a career spanning eight years.
“The support I have received from the club and my team mates has been incredible and will help to soften the blow of having to having to retire from the game I love.”
Head coach Leo Cullen, who installed McLaughlin as interim captain during the Rugby World Cup period, added:
“Kevin is one of the most selfless players in our squad. He is the consummate pro and always put the team first. His record speaks for itself in terms of what he has achieved but outside of that his influence will live on in Leinster beyond his 115 caps for the players that were lucky enough to have worked and played with him day in, day out.
“He is a very popular member of the squad both on and off the pitch and thankfully Kevin is open to the possibility of helping out with us behind the scenes certainly in the short term and again I think that’s an indication of the esteem with which he is held within the group. We wish him all the best for the future.”