Imagine Rugby Blogs

Thompson Forced Into Retirement for a Second Time

Recurrence of neck injury influences decision

Posted Dec 09, 2011 by Chris White

Steve Thompson in action

Having retired once before, back in 2007, England hooker Steve Thompson has been forced into retirement again because of another neck injury. Thompson returned to the game just months after his first retirement, and after working his way back to the top level, the injury has been deemed to severe for him to continue in the game.

The 33-year old was a part of the victorious England World Cup winning team and won 73 caps for his country, but he has been suffering with problems since experiencing numb and dizzy spells since hitting a scrum machine in a training session back in October.

Thompson joined Wasps earlier this season, and the unfortunate injury occurred just two days before he was scheduled to make his debut for the club after moving from Leeds on a three-year deal.

“I tried to convince myself it was fine and it wasn’t. I have got to accept it this time, there is no way I can play. I can’t do what I need to do. I scrum, that’s what I do,” he said.

He was the first choice hooker for England at this year’s World Cup, and admitted afterwards that “it was hard work” just getting through it. “I thought I had done alright at the World Cup and I was really looking forward to playing for Wasps,” he said. “The operation I need will be more painful than the last one, so I’ll take a break and see what happens.”

Former England coach Martin Johnson paid tribute to his World Cup winning team-mate, saying that “when Steve came back to get himself fit and in form to compete in a World Cup shows what a great player and character he is. I know he was really looking forward to a new start at Wasps and for him to retire is really sad. But we should celebrate what he’s done in the game and wish him well.”

What was Thompson’s greatest achievement or performance in professional rugby? Give us your thoughts here, on Twitter @ImagineRugby and on Facebook by clicking here.

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