Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Thompson forced to call it a day

Steve Thompson

England hooker Steve Thompson has been forced to retire with immediate effect after suffering another neck injury.

Thompson has been experiencing numbness and dizziness since hitting a scrum machine in training with Wasps on October 26, and he will have an operation on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old briefly retired in 2007 after undergoing surgery on a different neck injury - but this time Thompson has been told there is no way back.

The injury occurred two days before Thompson made his debut for Wasps, who he joined on a three-year contract from Leeds in the summer.

Thompson played for an hour in Wasps' 14-12 win at Worcester - but that was to prove the final match of a career which brought him 73 England caps, three for the Lions and a 2003 World Cup winners' medal.

"I was gutted. I hit a scrum machine and it just went. I played 60 minutes at Worcester and that was it. I tried to convince myself it was fine and it wasn't," said Thompson, who is attending the Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens this weekend as an ambassador for the Christina Noble Childrens Foundation.

"I went to the specialist and he advised me it isn't safe to carry on playing. I need another operation, which will happen on Tuesday. I have had a lot of numbness and dizziness.

"I was enjoying rugby. I thought I had done all right at the World Cup, compared to how some of the lads went, and I was really looking forward to Wasps.

"Dai Young is someone I really wanted to play for."

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