No football player should have to retire at 26 years old, yet that's the sad reality Ryan Mason had to face on Tuesday morning.
It's been just over a year since the Englishman fractured his skull in a collision with Gary Cahill at Stamford Bridge, in which time he's been fighting to make a comeback.
But medical professionals have advised him against returning to football, meaning Mason has been forced to prematurely hang up his boots.
"I can confirm that following specialist medical advice I am having to retire from playing professional football," he said. "I have worked tirelessly in order to be able to return to the pitch.
"Unfortunately, having taken expert medical advice, I now have no option but to retire due to the risks involved given the nature of my injury."
Mason's news saddened football fans and players across the globe, with Cahill expressing his devastation and heartbreak with a classy tweet.
What the future holds for the former England midfielder remains to be seen, though he's received an amazing gesture from one of his old clubs, Tottenham.
Mason spent 17 years at Spurs, having joined their academy at the age of eight in 1999 and become a senior player in 2008.
And now he's now been offered a lifeline by Mauricio Pochettino, who has opened the door to him taking on a coaching role at the club.
"It is very sad news but he opens a door for his future with his family," said Pochettino, per the Evening Standard. "Ryan has been at the training ground in recent days.
"We have been talking to him with John McDermott (head of academy). He will be successful in whatever he does. He will always be a special player for me.
"He represents for me this change in all when we arrived at Tottenham. The door is open for me to help him and the club because we love him and Rachel and George and all his family.
"Don't worry Ryan, you're going to be a successful person outside of the club."
Absolute class from Pochettino and Spurs. Mason's life has just been turned upside down but he knows he has the support of the club that natured him throughout his youth.
And that's what football is all about.
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