Ben John has confirmed that he is to take a 12-month sabbatical from rugby as he recovers from the latest of a series of head injuries that have affected him over the last year.
The 26-year old has been sidelined since the Boxing Day game against the Scarlets when he left the action shortly before half-time following an aerial collision.
That was the third such incident to affect Ben during 2017, limiting him to just 10 appearances since the start of last year.
Specialist advice was for Ben to sit out the remainder of this season, after which time he is expected to make a full recovery with no long-term concerns. However, the player himself has made the decision to take an extended break from playing in order to look at his long-term options.
Speaking after confirming the news, John said:
“I’ve spent a lot of time on the sidelines over the last year, dealing with the effects of head injuries, and it has made me think longer-term than just the next match or the next month. When you find yourself in that position it does make you think long and hard about your future.
“While the specialist opinion is that I’ll be ready to play after a six-month break, I’ve decided it’s in my best interests to take a year out and use that time wisely. I want to look at my options in terms of life outside of rugby and prepare for the future, while ensuring I’m fully rested and ready to go again next year.
“The support I’ve had from everybody at the Ospreys has been fantastic, not just over the last year or so while I’ve been dealing with these issues but for the last 10 years, having come through the age-grade system here. I’m grateful for that support which has certainly helped me no end during some tough times.
“Taking time out gives me the opportunity to look at new experiences and options before resuming my career next year refreshed and fully fit.”
Dan Griffiths. Rugby General Manager at the Ospreys, said:
“Ben has been a great club man over the last 10 years, someone who has always given everything to the cause on and off the field, including taking his first steps on the coaching pathway within the age-grade set-up.
“The last year or so has been very difficult for him but he has dealt with it very maturely and, by taking an extended break, is giving himself time to not only look at future options but to ensure he is fully refreshed and in the best possible health for 2019 and beyond. We look forward to seeing him back in action soon.”
The former Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr pupil’s early rugby days were spent at Loughor RFC. He then represented his home region at age-grade level before graduating to the Principality Premiership with Aberavon, scoring eight tries in 60 matches for the Wizards.
Capped at all Wales age-grade levels, he went to the 2010 Junior World Championships in Argentina, just months after making his Ospreys debut in an LV= Cup win over Leeds Carnegie at the Liberty Stadium.
He has made 79 regional appearances, scoring 15 tries.