Former Irish U20 Ciarán Gaffney has announced his retirement from professional rugby because of a back and neck injury which almost left the 23-year-old paralyzed.
— Connacht Rugby (@connachtrugby) September 28, 2018
Gaffney is a Galway native who progressed through the school's system to play for Connacht while also shining with Galwegians and the Irish u20s. He then moved to Italy to join Zebre. However, an injury he suffered against Connacht last February left him requiring surgery and a neck brace.
A collision in that game dislocated his neck and ruptured a disk in his back. Gaffney has spoken to journalist John Fallon in what is a truly devastating account about his injury and confirmed he has been forced to retire.
I’m still a bit raw and I find myself watching very little rugby on TV but I’m sure the appetite will come back over time. But any time I feel down in the dumps or start feeling sorry for myself, I try to keep perspective on everything.
I know I’m lucky, it could’ve been so much worse and I know how close it was.