Leinster have today announced the regrettable news that Kevin McLaughlin has been forced to retire from rugby. The decision has been taken after the back row consulted with a neurologist after sustaining a concussion in the opening Guinness Pro12 game of the season against Edinburgh.
The decision was taken to send the 31 year old to a specialist 'due to concerns about his increasing susceptibility to concussion and the length of recovery'.
Tests were conducted and the medical advice has been that it is best for McLaughlin's 'long-term interests' that he retire from the game immediately.
Speaking to the Leinster website, McLaughlin was understandably disheartened by the fact that his playing days are now over.
It is upsetting and frustrating to have to retire when I feel I have so much left to give but it is the right decision and I am glad that our medical staff were so pro-active in encouraging me to see a neurologist and getting his expert opinion.
The support I have received from the club and my team mates has been incredible and will help to soften the blow of having to having to retire from the game I love.
Leinster head coach, Leo Cullen, has spoken about the kind of character that is now missing from his squad.
Kevin is one of the most selfless players in our squad. He is the consummate pro and always put the team first. His record speaks for itself in terms of what he has achieved but outside of that his influence will live on in Leinster beyond his 115 caps for the players that were lucky enough to have worked and played with him day in, day out.
McLaughlin has been capped eight times for Ireland with his last appearance coming against New Zealand in November 2013.