Newcastle Falcons star Taione Vea has been forced to call it quits from rugby following a spinal injury sustained in the Premiership season opener in September against Sale.
The talented Tonga international made 22 appearances for Falcons since joining them from London Welsh in 2015.
The news was disclosed by Newcastle’s official website, where it was confirmed that the prop would no longer be featuring for club or country.
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The series of events have definitely taken a toll on the player, who must be devastated to see his career end at such an early stage, with the majority of people his age reaching their peak.
Speaking on the issue, Vea was quoted by BBC Sport saying: “I was left paralysed for five or six minutes on the field, where I couldn’t feel my whole body.”
He gave a brief account of the experience suffered and some insights of the threat that remains if he decides to take the pitch.
“That is enough for anybody in a lifetime, and the risk of that happening again if I was to return to playing is quite high.”
The 27-year-old admitted it was only after serious consultations and advice from doctors and specialists that he contemplated to retire, taking into consideration the level of danger involved.
He added: “Having spoken to medical professionals and specialists, I have had to just accept the fact there is more to life than playing the game I love.”
Tributes poured in after the announcement with friends and colleagues reminiscing the enormous talent and his popularity among the members of the squad.
The Auckland-born rugby ace has six international caps alongside representing Wasps as well as New Zealand based North Harbour in previous seasons.