Former All Blacks prop Ben Afeaki’s on-going issues with concussion have forced his retirement from rugby.
The 27-year-old Chiefs forward suffered concussion in February last year in a round one Super Rugby match against the Crusaders and has not played since.
It was his third head knock in three years, and left him struggling to concentrate as he battled ongoing problems including nausea, fogginess and dizziness.
Afeaki played one Test as a substitute against France in 2013. He played 36 matches for the Chiefs, and 58 games for North Harbour, captaining the side.
Of Ngati Awa descent, Afeaki was also a member of the Maori All Blacks side that commemorated the team’s centenary in 2010.
He played eight matches with the Maori All Blacks, touring with the team to Europe in 2012 and North America in 2013.
Afeaki said the decision to stand down had been difficult.
“Now is the time that I have to make a decision that is best for my health long-term, and that is to retire from all rugby.”
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie says Afeaki will continue to remain part of the Chiefs’ family despite not being on the field.
He will continue to receive on-going support from the Chiefs, New Zealand Rugby, his provincial union North Harbour, and the New Zealand Players Association.
“Ben is an outstanding man who is highly respected and loved by all at the Chiefs,” Rennie said.
“His phenomenal work rate and physicality played a massive part in our success in 2012-13 and he will be sorely missed.”