Hull City midfielder Ryan Mason announced his retirement from professional football with immediate effect on Tuesday (13 February) after a life-threatening injury suffered in January 2017.
The 26-year-old, a graduate of Tottenham Hotspur's youth academy, had not played since a nasty and accidental clash of heads with Gary Cahill during a Premier League defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge 13 months ago that left him with a fractured skull.
Mason underwent emergency surgery at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington before beginning the arduous road to recovery, which recently involved him training on his own while awaiting the results of a final scan.
However, it has now been confirmed that the player will be hanging up his boots after receiving expert medical advice.
In an emotional statement on Instagram, Mason wrote: "I can confirm that following specialist medical advice I am having to retire from playing professional football.
"I have worked tirelessly in order to be able to return to the pitch. Unfortunately having taken expert medical advice I now have no option but to retire due to the risks involved given the nature of my injury.
"I am and always will be eternally grateful for the incredible network of people around me who have helped me to recover from what was a life-threatening injury in January 2017."
Mason, who became a father in December, went onto thank his fiance Rachel, family and close friends for their unwavering support during such a difficult time.
"Despite how tough it's been and the challenges I've faced along the way you've all been there supporting me and words will never truly do justice to how grateful I am for your love and support," he added.
A statement from Championship strugglers Hull read: "It is with deep regret that the club has to announce that, following the head injury suffered on 22nd January 2017, Ryan Mason is to retire from football with immediate effect.
"Ryan has sought the guidance of numerous world renowned neurologists and neuro surgeons who have all advised that a return to competitive football is not advised. Ryan would like to put on record his thanks to all at the club who have aided his recovery to this point and he his is indebted to them for their support and compassion over the past 12 months."
Mason made a total of 20 appearances for Hull after joining the Tigers from Tottenham for a reported club-record fee of £13m ($18m) in August 2016.
He previously appeared 70 times at senior level for Spurs after being loaned out to Yeovil Town, Doncaster Rovers, Millwall, Lorient and Swindon Town. He was handed his sole England cap by Roy Hodgson in March 2015 as a second-half replacement for Jordan Henderson in a 1-1 friendly draw with Italy in Turin.