Super Rugby

Broadhurst retires from playing rugby

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Hurricanes Super Rugby lock James Broadhurst has called time on his rugby playing career due to the ongoing effects of concussion.

The 29-year-old Hurricanes lock Broadhurst said it had been difficult to be advised by medical experts to walk away from the game he loved, but ultimately it was the right advice.

“I’ve been away from the game for a little over 18 months and still experience symptoms which affect my daily life.

“Some extensive efforts have gone into getting me back to sport by medical professionals in and out of rugby. Even though it hasn’t resulted in the outcome I had hoped for, I owe each and every one of them a huge debt, as my health has improved massively and this will undoubtedly give me quality of life in the future.”

Broadhurst said he wanted to publicly acknowledge the assistance and support he’d received from his partner Brooke, friends, family, and the rugby community including Taranaki, the Hurricanes and New Zealand Rugby.

“The support I’ve received from players and management has been overwhelming. I’d like to thank every player and coach I’ve been involved with over the years who have assisted me on my rugby path, and everyone who will assist me during my transition to the next stage of life.

“They say for a door to open, others must close, so I look forward to the next chapter in anticipation, rather than looking back at the rugby chapter with sadness.”

Broadhurst has not played rugby since suffering dual head knocks during a Mitre 10 Cup match while playing for Taranaki against Wellington in August 2015.

Though he had made considerable progress in his recovery, he had reached a point where his progress had plateaued.

Broadhurst retires with an impressive playing resume including earning a test cap against South Africa at Ellis Park in Johannesburg in 2015 where he was part of a 27-20 All Blacks victory.

He also played 71 matches for the Hurricanes, 20 for Canterbury, and 55 for Taranaki, including starting in every match during their run to the Mitre 10 Cup national Premiership title in 2014.

In 2015, he was a finalist for Super Rugby Player of the Year at the New Zealand Rugby Awards after playing a crucial role in the Hurricanes run to the final.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said Broadhurst had made a big contribution to the club on and off the field since making his debut against the Force in 2010.

“James is a good man who played some exceptional rugby for the Hurricanes, particularly in 2015. The timing of his injury was unfortunate because he was starting to really realise his full potential.

“It can’t have been easy for him to be told to walk away from the game and everyone at the club wishes him all the best for whatever lies ahead.”

Taranaki coach Colin Cooper said Broadhurst had made a big impact during six campaigns with the Mitre 10 Cup squad since 2010.

“James has been a huge asset to the Taranaki team both on and off the field as a player and leader, including helping his team win the Ranfurly Shield in 2011 and the Premiership in 2014.

“He has strong values, a massive work ethic and is a great team man. It has been a real pleasure to coach James and to share some great memories with him. We are enormously grateful for his contribution to Taranaki Rugby over many years and wish him and Brooke the very best as they embark on this next chapter together.”

New Zealand Rugby General Manager Neil Sorensen said Broadhurst had been the model player in rehabilitation and encouraged others to make good decisions around their welfare.

“We’re incredibly grateful to James for his perseverance and he will continue to be supported by the Hurricanes and NZR medical staff as he moves into the next phase of his life.

“James has put his health first and that is the right call. He is well regarded on and off the field, and we will support him as he makes this career transition.”

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