Nottingham Rugby yesterday confirmed that promising scrum half from Lynn, Finlay Barnham, has announced his retirement from the sport under medical advice.
Former KES pupil Barnham (24) has spent the last six months battling with the effects of his injury following a prolonged spell on the sidelines recovering from concussion.
After consultation with the Nottingham Rugby club doctor and two specialist neurologists, he has heeded their advice to retire to avoid further damage.
Barnham, who has played for West Norfolk RUFC locally, said: “It is with deep regret that I am announcing my retirement from rugby. This sport has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember and I consider myself very privileged to have been given the opportunity to ply my trade professionally.
“The last six months have been very difficult personally as a result of the injury and after receiving the same advice from three medical professionals, it became clear that I needed to make this decision.”
Barnham joined Nottingham in 2010 from the Leicester Tigers Academy and has gone on to make 83 appearances for the club, scoring one try. He has also captained the side seven times, most notably in leading the club to the quarter-finals of the British and Irish Cup in 2012.
“I’ve had some fantastic experiences as a rugby player and I wouldn’t swap them for anything.
“I’ve had the chance to represent my country (England U16’s), I’ve played in an unbeaten team for the academy of one of the world’s biggest clubs (Leicester Tigers) and with Nottingham I’ve had the chance to captain a side to a quarter-final in the Cup and was part of the squad that finished second in the league a couple of years ago.
“I’m very proud of these achievements and will always look back fondly on them, particularly on my time as a Green and White.
“There are so many people who have supported me throughout my career that I’d like to thank. Martin Haag and Simon Beatham have been incredibly supportive of me during the injury and in my arrival at this decision. Dr. Abraze Khalique, the club’s doctor, has been incredible with his advice and support from a medical perspective.
“The biggest thanks though, have to go to my Mum and Dad who gave up so much of their time to enable me to fulfil my ambition of playing rugby. The amount of time they must have spent in the car driving me to various matches is incredible and I couldn’t have done this without them.
“The Nottingham fans and my team mates have always been hugely supportive of me.
“Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to West Norfolk Rugby Club for giving me the opportunity to play and enjoy rugby from a young age, in particular Chris Bird who is now the first team coach.”
Barnham graduated with First Class honours from Loughborough University in Sports Science and Business Management and has been committed to gaining industry experience alongside his playing career. He also holds a C01 Fundamentals of Management Accountancy certificate.
“I’ve always been an advocate of having a ‘Plan B’ as a professional sports career is short and fragile,” he added.
“While I didn’t think I’d need my ‘Plan B’ quite so soon, it’s stood me in good stead and I have some great work experience under my belt having worked within management consultancy and investment firm TPUK.
“I’m excited about the next chapter of my life and where it might take me.”
Nottingham Rugby head coach Martin Haag said: “It’s a sad loss for us with Fin having to retire early.
“It is not nice when anyone is forced into retirement and it’s especially sad when you consider that Fin is only 24. He will be missed as he has Nottingham in his heart.
“Even though his career has been cut short he can be very proud of his achievements with Nottingham Rugby and he is held in high esteem.
“He has been part of the leadership group and has grown over the last few years. We wish him the very best for the future and he will always be part of this club.”