By Ali Stokes
Exeter Chiefs prop Carl Rimmer has been forced to retire from professional rugby following a stroke in January.
The 32-year-old suffered his stroke during a Chiefs training session two days after a Premiership game against Newcastle Falcons, spending the majority of the week in hospital. After waiting to see whether the issue would correct itself over time, medical professionals have advised Rimmer to retire from the game.
"It was all a bit weird." Rimmer reflected, "Nobody knew what had happened, I didn’t really know, I was fully conscious, and by the time I got to hospital and someone diagnosed it and told me what was wrong, the best part of me thought ‘it can’t be, it is impossible, I am 30 years old, there is no way that’s happened’, and it turns out it was related to trauma and not to anything else."
“The club were brilliant with me and let me have some good time off to make sure everything healed as it should. Apart from the rugby side of things, I have been pretty much fine since February, so that has been brilliant.
“I was under the impression from medical guidance that there was a chance that I could return to playing, but at the same time the percentage was only 50-50, but unfortunately, three months later, when they rescanned everything, the injury itself had not healed properly, which just meant the risks of returning to play a contact sport were too great, and I was advised medically to retire, which wasn’t great news to hear at the time.”
Born in Banbury, the ex Coventry and Cornish Pirates forward plans to remain in the South West of England with the intention of pursuing a career in construction.
“Plans are starting to be made,” he said.“I am now in the position where I am looking forward to my next challenge, and not lamenting what was.
“Players, fans, coaches, everyone I have met, and the club itself, has made the experience so much better, and for that I will always be grateful and be here for ever more, be that as a fan now or whatever, just always wanting to be a part of this place and the surrounding area.”
Rimmer has amassed over 100 appearances for the Chiefs since joining in 2012, after suffering a neck injury while playing for Coventry, and played a vital role in Exeter's first Premiership title during the 2016/17 season.
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