World Rugby were in Paris earlier this week claiming at a conference that overall injury rates are not increasing globally, but that allegedly static statistic doesn’t mean the game is no longer having devastating consequences.
London Irish are the latest club who can vouch for that as their mood heading into this weekend’s Patrick’s Day party Championship fixture versus Doncaster was dampened by their confirmation that New Zealander has retired with immediate effect.
His career-ending injury? A hamstring issue suffered during an Anglo-Welsh Cup win over Cardiff Blues in February 2018. It’s severity has prevented the 31-year-old forward from making a full recovery and he has been forced to prematurely call its quits.
Now he faces heading home to New Zealand this summer to join the family construction business. “I’m gutted that I’m having to retire as I felt that I still had a couple of good years in front of me,” he said.
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“I’m lucky enough to have had a good career in rugby and played in some good teams in New Zealand and in the UK. I’d like to thank all of the coaches and players who have helped me along the way.
“I’d particularly like to thank everyone at London Irish for the way they welcomed my wife and myself to the club and for making us feel a part of the family. It really is a fantastic place and one of the most disappointing aspects about having to retire is that I won’t be a part of the journey that the club is now on.
Interesting conclusion coming out of World Rugby Paris conference ?? https://t.co/aClrUk5o0y
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 20, 2019
“Brian O’Leary, Nick Hess and the medical team have been brilliant in the way they have worked with me to try and help me overcome the injury, and Declan Kidney has gone out of his way to keep me involved with the squad as much as possible, even though I’ve not been able to contribute on the field.
“Hopefully we can finish off the season with promotion back to the Premiership, and then I can look forward to the next chapter of my life as part of the family business and with the baby my wife and I are expecting in the summer. I would like to wish everyone at London Irish all the best for the future and believe that success is just around the corner.”
The hardest part of this great job is not being able to help athletes return to their sport and even harder when the athlete is a true gent like @MikeComan True to form he threw himself into his rehab with the same commitment as every tackle while wearing the green @LiRFC jersey https://t.co/jU8ECPlshx
— Brian O'Leary (@Learyphysio) March 20, 2019
Kidney, the director of rugby Kidney, said Coman had been a very positive influence at Hazelwood over the past year despite his lengthy lay-off.
“It’s a real shame that Mike is having to retire as he has been a brilliant person to have around the squad this season. You can always tell the measure of a man in times of adversity and Mike has been an influential part of the squad despite not playing.
“He’s done everything he could to get over his injury, but unfortunately the severity hasn’t allowed his body to recover to the stage where he could play professional rugby again. Mike has approached his rehabilitation and his off-field work like a true professional throughout my time at London Irish and we’re going to miss him.
“On behalf of the coaches, staff and players I’d like to wish Mike and his family every success for the future and we hope that he will continue to be a familiar face whenever he’s in London.”
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