Will Hurrell: Bristol Bears centre retires after probable stroke in January

Will Hurrell joined Bristol Bears in 2016

Bristol Bears centre Will Hurrell has retired from rugby union with immediate effect, after suffering a probable stroke in January.

The 30-year-old was withdrawn with a head injury and then taken to hospital following the Premiership game with Leicester Tigers on 4 January.

Hurrell spent four seasons at Ashton Gate and played 68 times.

“After speaking with specialists, I’ve been advised that I can’t engage in any contact sports,” Hurrell said.

“It’s been a really challenging year for me personally, but I accept this is the right decision for me and my family.”

Melton Mowbray-born Hurrell featured in just one Premiership game for local side Leicester – a derby with Northampton – before an ill-fated move to London Welsh and then opting to continue his university studies.

He went on to play for Coventry, Bedford Blues and Doncaster before joining the Bears for their Premiership return in 2016.

He also had a loan spell at West Country rivals Bath, making four top-flight appearances.

“I’ve been lucky to have played the sport I love and to have met brilliant people along the way,” Hurrell continued.

“I’m proud of the career I’ve had and to have represented some fantastic clubs.

“Bristol has become my second home and I have genuinely loved every minute. I can’t thank the supporters enough for how welcome they have made me, and I’ll still be supporting the team at Ashton Gate.”

Director of Rugby Pat Lam added: “Will is a popular team man at the club and we’re sad to see his career cut short by injury. It was a pleasure to work with him and to have him as a friend.

“Will was a player and a character that was a competitor and a fighter. He put his body on the line every time he took the field and showed real courage for the team. We massively respect that and opposition coaches and players feared him every time he played.”

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