Cornish All Blacks back rower Mike Rawlings has been forced to retire from rugby at the age of only 25, due to a serious eye injury, writes Nigel Walrond.
The former Cornish Pirates Academy forward took a blow to the head in the National Two South game at Hartpury College on January 11.
His full vision failed to recover after that incident, but he played two weeks later away at Bishop’s Stortford.
However, he then got himself checked out, and the scale of the damage became apparent, leaving him with no other decision to make.
“It came as a bit of a shock,” explained Rawlings, who played more than 120 games for the All Blacks over a seven-year period.
“If I had caught it a lot earlier, there would have been a chance of playing again, but a few of the detachments moved to the centre part of my eye, and started affecting my vision, so unfortunately I have had to hang up my boots.
“Almost a month ago I took a whack on the head against Hartpury. It was a standard hit to the head really which left both of my eyes blurry.
“But as time went on, a little spot of vision in my eye was constantly blurry, and the Launceston physio told me to go straight to the opticians, and before I knew it I was in hospital and having surgery.
“It was a detached retina and they believe that playing rugby over the space of a few months has caused the problem, and there were seven detachments in total.
“It came down to my eyesight or rugby, and my eyesight is a little bit more important!”
“When you hang up your boots, you want it to be on your terms, so it is frustrating, but I am planning on staying in the game and doing a bit of coaching.”