Leinster and Ireland back row Kevin McLaughlin retires due to ‘susceptibility to concussion’

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Leinster Rugby and the IRFU today announced that back row Kevin McLaughlin is to retire from rugby on medical grounds.

McLaughlin sustained a concussion in Leinster’s opening game of the PRO12 season, against Edinburgh on September 4.

The 31-year-old was referred to a neurologist, as the Leinster medical team had concerns about his increasing susceptibility to concussion and the length of recovery.

Following tests it was recommended that it would be in his best long-term interests to stop playing, and this afternoon the province announced his immediate retirement.

In a statement McLaughlin said it was upsetting to have to retire, but he was confident it was the correct decision.

“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,” McLaughlin said. “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 retire from the game I love.”

McLaughlin made his debut for Leinster in a Magners League clash in March 2007, and his Ireland debut during the Six Nations championship in February 2010.

“It has been an absolute privilege to represent UCD, St. Mary’s, Leinster and Ireland over the years and from a rugby perspective I have no regrets,” McLaughlin said. “Some special memories in particular would be my first cap for Ireland in 2010 and Leinster’s PRO12 win in 2013 after having lost the previous three finals.

“The two Heineken Cups, particularly the 2012 win in Twickenham will also last long in the memory. I was lucky enough to be involved in Leinster throughout a very successful and rewarding period during which I have learned a lot about life and made lifelong friends.”

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