One of South Africa's biggest rugby talents Pat Lambie has announced his retirement from the game at the age of just 28 due to ongoing concussions.
Lambie looked set to join the Springboks' Rugby World Cup team to play for the Webb Ellis Cup later this year in Japan, but the 56-cap first five-eighth said he was no longer willing to risk his health on the rugby field.
"I am following the advice of two neurologists, one in South Africa and one in France, both of whom I have seen on a number of occasions," Lambie told sarugbymag.co.za.
"Considering the number of concussions I have suffered, and above that, the amount of time it takes to shake off the symptoms afterwards, it is better to avoid the risk of further head injuries.
"We have tried rest, medication, neck treatment, jaw treatment, eye rehabilitation, multivitamins, and now I am to avoid any strenuous exercise and sports that require contact. Therefore, I am retiring from the game completely."
Lambie has suffered multiple concussions in the past three years which has, alongside an ACL injury, limited his time both in the green jersey and playing club rugby for French side Racing 92.
Although admitting that having to retire so young was "gutting," Lambie said he felt a sense of relief and was thankful that his injuries weren't more severe.
"It is a really big decision and I have extremely mixed emotions about it," he said.
"I am bitterly disappointed and sad because I still have some dreams on the rugby field, and I feel like some good playing days are ahead of me.
"But on the other hand, I feel relieved to know that I will not be at risk of further, more serious head injuries.
"It is the hand I have been dealt I guess, and the story I get to tell. Despite all the injuries, I can still look back on an almost 10-year career with many highlights and memories to hold close forever. I feel very lucky in that regard."
Lambie will remain in France for the next month before returning home to South Africa where he will spend some time to plan his future.
"Rehabilitating from the knee injury will give me a little bit of time to digest this decision and to see what opportunities there might be work-wise," he said.
"I am not sure about the coaching route, although I would love to give back to the game in some way. I do have other interests which I will be exploring over the coming months."