Alex Danson, Olympic Gold medal-winning former captain of Great Britain’s hockey side, has retired from the sport with a long-term concussion.
The former captain had returned to the GB side in January following 18 months out of the squad to try and make the team for the Olympics in Tokyo. Danson had previously been ruled out of playing after hitting her head on a wall whilst on holiday in 2018.
The 34-year-old has spoken of the moment she hit her head as the “most challenging part” of her life that had serious impacts on her ability to function, let alone play hockey.
“By the time I got home, I wasn’t well. I had terrible headaches, light sensitivity, noise. I came back and I was in bed in a dark room for a month.
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“I was very sick. I don’t remember much. I went to the hospital, I was very unwell,” she told the BBC in 2019.
Danson was part of the team that won Olympic gold at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and has won 306 caps for England and Great Britain over the course of her 18-year career. She holds a joint-record with Marjorie Pollard of 115 goals for her country.
In a post released on her Instagram page, Danson revealed her appearance in August 2018 during England’s World Cup quarter-final defeat by the Netherlands would be her last.
“After a long 18 months but a fabulous 18 years in the sport, it’s the right time for me to retire,” she revealed.
“It’s been the most incredible journey I could have asked for, but a lot has changed. My head injury has been life-changing, also in terms of my perspective and things that have happened within my family.
“Throughout my career, I’ve been 100% immersed in being an athlete, but my priorities are different now. All of that means it’s the right time.
“I’ve known over the last couple of weeks that it was a decision I needed to come to. It’s difficult because this has been my life. It’ll be strange moving into something new, but I’m totally thankful and content. I have zero regrets about the way I’ve lived my career.”
“The challenge of returning to play following my head injury is too much, and the risk’s too high.
“I end my playing days completely content, proud of how I committed every day for 18 years and thankful to have had the most incredible people by my side. I look back and have not one single regret. I lived my dream.”