Yorkshire Carnegie captain Chris Jones has announced that he has been forced to retire from professional rugby, aged 35, after suffering concussion during this season’s home game against Nottingham.
Jones joined Carnegie in 2014 and made 40 appearances for the club and was named captain ahead of the 2015-16 season. Before joining Yorkshire Carnegie Chris enjoyed a ten-year career at Sale Sharks, where he was twice named player of the year and won the Premiership and the European Challenge Cup. He went onto sign for Worcester Warriors in 2011 and made a further 67 appearances. After representing England Sevens and Saxons he was called up to make his debut for England in the 2004 Six Nations and represented his country on 12 occasions. In total he made played 213 times in the Premiership and made it to 11th of the all-time Premiership appearances.
Confirming his retirement Jones said: “It is massively disappointing for me to have to end my career in this way, but having spoken with the club’s doctors they have advised me that it would not be safe for me to continue playing. Since the Nottingham game I have experienced a number of side effects from the concussion and I am now working with the Institute of Sport in London on treatment.
“I have been very lucky to have had a long and successful career, winning European Shields and the Premiership and also representing my country. I have worked with some fantastic players and coaches and I am extremely grateful to each of them for their support throughout my career. The medical staff at Yorkshire Carnegie have been brilliant with me over this difficult time and I would like to thank them all for everything they have done for me.
“This has all been quite sudden and I had agreed a new contract with Yorkshire Carnegie so I have no immediate plans for a career outside of playing. I joined Yorkshire Carnegie with the ambition to get the club promoted and am gutted that I am having to call time on my career. I have enjoyed my time with Yorkshire Carnegie and I was honoured to captain them last season and I wish the club all the best for the future. I would like to thank Bryan Redpath, who I’ve always admired as a player and a coach, and also Chris Gibson for all his support.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my parents and most of all my wife Donna who has been with me through all the highs and the lows. Donna and my children are my greatest achievement and their love and support has been amazing.”
Yorkshire Carnegie’s head coach Bryan Redpath paid tribute to Jones: “Chris has been one of the most consistent Premiership players over the last 15 years and has had an outstanding career. This season he captained Yorkshire Carnegie to play-offs and British and Irish Cup Final and we thank him for all he has done for the club. This is a tough way to end a playing career but head injuries are not to mess about with.
“Yorkshire Carnegie will be doing our best to look after Chris and aid his transitions from rugby. It has been a great pleasure, firstly playing alongside him to then getting the opportunity to coach him. On behalf of the club we wish him well on new challenges ahead.”