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'The objective is my long-term health' - Ulster second row retires aged 30 following concussion concerns

Pete Browne confirmed his retirement on Tuesday after three seasons spent at Kingspan Stadium.

Browne joined Ulster ahead of the 2015/16 campaign.
Browne joined Ulster ahead of the 2015/16 campaign.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

PETE BROWNE HAS announced his retirement from rugby at the age of 30, citing concerns over a “propensity for concussion symptoms” following recent head injuries.

The Ulster second row confirmed his decision with immediate effect on Tuesday, acknowledging that his long-term health was his number one priority after speaking with medical professionals.

Browne joined Ulster at the beginning of the 2015/16 campaign and has enjoyed three seasons at Kingspan Stadium, having previously lined out for Harlequins and London Welsh.

“Over the past couple of seasons, along with other injuries, I have suffered a number of concussions. In all of those cases (apart from my most recent head injury, which took longer), I have made a quick and full recovery and, thankfully, I have no long-term symptoms,” he said in a statement.

Pete Brown The Bristol-born second row enjoyed spells at Newcastle Falcons, Harlequins and London Welsh. Source: Presseye/Matt Mackey/INPHO

“However, through the expert medical care at Ulster, headed by Dr Webb, and having seen a neurological specialist, it is clear that I have an increased propensity for concussion symptoms following any head injury. Therefore, with that counsel, and after speaking to family, I have made the extremely tough decision to retire from the game I love.

Looking at the situation rationally, and trying to remove emotion, the objective is my long-term health alongside all the other passions, hopes and goals I have for my life.

“I look back with thankfulness on a career spanning 12 years, from a bright-eyed (beardless) school kid in the Gloucester Academy to a student making his debut for Newcastle Falcons. I then moved to Harlequins and was fortunate to be part of the squad that won the Amlin Cup, Premiership and LV Cup.

“Then, after two very contrasting seasons at London Welsh as we won the Championship, and then were relegated, I was recruited by Ulster, and for that I will be forever thankful.”

Pete Browne and Tommy Bowe Browne and Tommy Bowe during an Ulster training session in 2016. Source: Presseye/Jonathan Porter/INPHO

He continued: “Playing for Ulster has been an incredible privilege. Getting to follow in the footsteps of my father (who played for Ulster and Ireland Schools) by being part of this club fills me with pride and gratitude.

“I would like to thank the fans for their unwavering support, the coaches for all of their hard work and my team mates for their support and friendship throughout my time here.”

“I only wish I could have played more and won something with a squad with so much quality in it. I could not imagine playing for any other team as Ulster has truly become my home.”

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Aaron Gallagher

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