Cheetahs centre forced to retire

Michael van der Spuy has retired at the age of 26 due to repeated head injuries.

Van der Spuy confirmed to Netwerk24 that he had made the decision to end his rugby career after he was advised by various doctors to do so.

The 26-year-old sustained a concussion during the Cheetahs' pre-season warm-up against the Stormers in Zimbabwe earlier in the year, but medical specialists later determined that he could resume his playing career.

However, on 23 June, he sustained another blow to the head after colliding with wing S'bu Nkosi during Free State's Rugby Challenge match against the Sharks in Bloemfomtein.

Van der Spuy says the dizziness and headaches took much longer to disappear after the latest injury, and following much deliberation with Cheetahs team doctor Rudi de Wet, and his former doctor at Western Province, Jason Suter, he made the difficult decision to call time on his career.

'It's a difficult situation to be in. I've suffered more than 15 concussions in my career and the more it happened the longer it took for the symptoms to go away,' said Van der Spuy. 'It wasn't easy to accept that I'd never be able to play again, but I really had no other option.'

Van der Spuy added that he is in talks with the Free State Rugby Union about joining the U20 coaching staff, but that nothing has been finalised.

He featured in four Super Rugby games for the Stormers in 2014, before joining the Cheetahs the following season. He went on to play in 17 Super Rugby games for the Bloemfontein-based franchise. 

Photo: Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images

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