Adam Hughes: Brain injury forces Dragons centre to retire

Adam Hughes
Adam Hughes had two stints with the Dragons in between playing for Bristol and Exeter Chiefs.

A brain injury has forced Dragons centre Adam Hughes to retire from rugby, after receiving advice from a specialist.

The 28-year-old, who made his Dragons debut in 2010 and had brief spells at Bristol and Exeter, returning to the Welsh side in 2015, scored 22 tries.

"A neurologist said that playing rugby wasn't an option due to two major trauma scars that I had sustained on my brain," said Hughes.

"The decision was made there and then."

Hughes first feared he would have to retire after suffering concussion during a pre-season match in August 2016.

He was out for five months, returning in January 2017, after what he described as "a bad knockout".

However, he has not featured since September, 2017 and attempts at rehabilitation have been unsuccessful.

In a column he wrote for the South Wales Argus in February, 2018, Hughes admitted his concussion problems had made his hopes of becoming a commercial pilot a "slim possibility".

Rugby's head injury concerns

Concerns over head injuries have bedevilled rugby union in recent years.

The announcement of Hughes' retirement came soon after a leading concussion expert called for a reduction in contact training sessions in the sport.

Consultant neuropathologist Dr Willie Stewart believes the rates of concussion in the professional game are "unacceptably high".

Hughes left Dragons in 2014 for Bristol and later that year signed a two-year deal for Exeter Chiefs.

He made 10 appearances for the English Premiership side before returning to Dragons in October, 2015.

'Brilliant pace and evasion'

In a Dragons statement Hughes thanked those who have supported him, adding: "Playing for the Dragons has given me some unbelievable moments."

Head coach Bernard Jackman described Hughes as "a versatile player that had brilliant pace and evasion".

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Adam for the huge contribution he has made to the Dragons," added Jackman.

Hughes is the third Dragons player in three seasons to retire after suffering head injuries following Matthew Pewtner in 2016 and Ashley Smith in 2015.

Top Stories