Gary Cahill has offered his condolences to Ryan Mason after the midfielder was forced to retire from football on medical advice following the head injury he suffered during Hull City’s Premier League match at Chelsea in January 2017.
Mason, 26, sustained a fractured skull in a clash of heads with Cahill while defending a corner during his team’s defeat and subsequently received treatment for around nine minutes on the Stamford Bridge pitch. He had surgery at St Mary’s Hospital in London and was released eight days later but has since struggled with his recovery, admitting he had “no option” but to retire.
“Devastated to hear today’s news from Ryan,” read a statement from England defender Cahill on his Twitter account. “Competing for a corner is something we’ve done thousands of times and to see those consequences for a top professional like Ryan is heartbreaking. Sending all my love to him and his family, and wishing him the best for the future.”
Mason – who was capped once by England against Italy in 2015 – was inundated with good luck messages on social media after confirming that his career is over.
“I have worked tirelessly in order to be able to return to the pitch,” he said in a statement released on his Instagram account. “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.”
Hull City added: “Ryan has sought the guidance of numerous world-renowned neurologists and neurosurgeons who have all advised that a return to competitive football is not advised.”
Mason began his career at Tottenham and had loan spells with Yeovil, Doncaster, Millwall and Swindon before joining Hull in a £12m move in 2016. “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,” he added.
The Tottenham manager, Mauricio Pochettino, also predicted that Mason could return in a coaching role.
“It is very sad news but he opens a door for his future with his family,” he said after Spurs’ 2-2 draw with Juventus on Tuesday. “He is 26 but his brain is amazing, he is an amazing person. He will be a very successful person in football in everything he wants to do. He is and will be special for me because represent the change in all the process when we arrived at Tottenham. For me, Ryan is a player who will always be special. The door is open for me to help him; and the club because we love him and Rachel and George and all his family. Don’t worry Ryan, you are going to be a successful person outside the pitch.”