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Gloucester Rugby statement: Ed Slater

By Ian Cameron
Ed Slater of England looks on during the match between the Crusaders and England at the AMI Stadium on June 17, 2014 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Gloucester have revealed that second-row Ed Slater has been tragically diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) at the age of just 33.


The life-limiting degenerative disease affects the motor neurons and leads to the loss of muscle use. The condition is – as yet – incurable, with little by way of treatment options for sufferers.

A statement from the club reads: “Gloucester Rugby is deeply pained to announce that Ed Slater has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

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“Following six months of testing, Ed’s diagnosis was confirmed last week and as a result, with the support of his family, friends and Gloucester Rugby, he has made the difficult decision to retire from professional rugby with immediate effect.

“Everyone at Gloucester Rugby – players, management and staff – are entirely committed to supporting Ed, his wife Jo and his three children in whatever way required. We know the same will be true of Gloucester and Leicester fans, and the wider rugby community.

“While Ed, his family and the Club take time to determine next steps, Gloucester Rugby have opened a JustGiving page. The direction of these funds will be determined in due course, whether it be supporting Ed and his family directly and/or a selected MND charity.”

You can donate to the JustGiving page HERE


“Neither the Club nor the Slater family will be making any further comment at this time and kindly request that those wishes be respected.”

Slater, a Leicester Tiger before signing for Gloucester in 2017, won four England Saxon caps and made one appearance for England in an uncapped match against the Crusaders in 2014.

Former Scotland rugby player Doddie Weir was diagnosed with the same illness in 2016 and has been raising awareness and funding in the fight against the disease.

“Gloucester Rugby is grateful for the support already provided by the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation. The Foundation was set up by Scottish Rugby legend Doddie Weir. In June 2017 the Scot revealed he was suffering from Motor Neurone Disease. From the outset, Doddie has been driven to help fellow sufferers and seek ways to further research into this, as yet, incurable disease. In November 2017, Doddie and his trustees launched the registered charity, My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.”


There has been some studies which have suggested a link between head traumas in sport and the onset of the disease.

“My Name’5 Doddie Foundation also recognises the increased attention surrounding potential links between head injury and neurological disease, but there is currently not enough definitive research on which to draw conclusions about potential links with motor neurone disease (MND).

“Whilst the evidence around a link between head trauma and dementia seems to be gaining momentum, the same cannot be implied for MND; these diseases have different causes and underlying factors.

“MND is a complex disease and, although we now have a much greater understanding of the genetics involved, the link between genes, environmental and lifestyle factors is not well understood.  Further research is critical to unravelling these details.”



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