The Ospreys regrettably have to confirm that Ben Lewis is to retire from rugby on medical advice, with immediate effect.
The 24-year old openside has made the decision to hang up his boots following consultation with specialists, six months after suffering a neck injury in the Ospreys win over Aironi at the Liberty Stadium.
Chris Towers, Head Physio at the Ospreys, confirmed:
“In the course of the last week it has been confirmed that Ben Lewis will retire from rugby, based on medical opinion, after specialists advised him that it was in the best interests of his future wellbeing.
“This decision stems from a neck injury he sustained in September, following which, he committed himself to an intensive rehab programme with a view to returning to rugby. Despite satisfying all the physical objectives, on his return to rugby in February, to play in the Premiership for Swansea, he suffered subsequent symptoms, happily with no residual issues. However, the nature of the symptoms are such that regrettably it is in his best interests to follow the medical advice he has received.”
Capped by Wales at all the age-grade levels, Swansea born Lewis came through the ranks at Mumbles and Swansea before he made his Ospreys debut against Leinster at Donnybrook in January 2007, with his first start coming in September that year, during the Rugby World Cup, against the Scarlets at the Liberty Stadium. A highly rated player, he made 24 Ospreys appearances in total, scoring three tries.
Speaking about his decision to call time on his career, Lewis explained:
"After speaking to the specialists, I’ve come to a decision which is the right one for me personally. Regrettably, this means that I have to give up rugby, but some things in life are more important than the game, life will still go on for me.
“I’m still young so there will be plenty of opportunities ahead for me. I’m not going to rush into making any decisions at the moment, I’ll take my time and look at the options available before deciding what’s next for me.
“I’d like to thank everybody who has supported me throughout my career, including my family and friends, and my girlfriend. At the Ospreys, I’d particularly like to thank the medical team for their outstanding care and support that I’ve had, as well as the players, coaches and management, and there is a special thank you to the fans who have never been anything less than brilliant to me. Obviously I will miss being part of the Ospreys, but I will no doubt remain close to the team, as I have so many good friends in the group.”
Ospreys Elite Performance Director, Andrew Hore, paid tribute to Lewis, saying:
“It is always tragic to see any player forced out of the game at such a young age. In Ben’s case, he is such a talented player and an enthusiastic, passionate and intelligent person, that he offers so much to our environment on and off the pitch.
“He has had terrible luck with injury but has always dealt with his situation in a positive manner, with a commitment to getting back into action as soon as possible, as was the case on this occasion. However, unfortunately, the medical advice surrounding his neck injury is such that he has been left with no option but to retire.
“We look after our own at the Ospreys, and will provide him with whatever support he requires as he adjusts to life outside of the game, and we wish him and his family all the best for the future, whatever it holds for him.”
Ospreys Managing Director, Roger Blyth, added:
“As someone who has known Ben personally for many years, away from the Ospreys, it is with great sadness that we have to confirm this disappointing news. An outstanding individual who is passionate about his rugby, he was a tremendous asset to the Ospreys, always looking to work hard to improve himself. I know that he has fought tremendously hard to overcome his injury problems, but sometimes, the decision has to be made in the best long-term interests, which mean you have to concede defeat.
“I have no doubt that he has a bright future ahead of him, whatever he turns his mind to, and that he will always be an Osprey.”