Scotland flyer Thom Evans will sadly not be able to make a fairy-tale comeback from the spinal injury suffered playing for Scotland last season.
Evans crashed into Lee Byrne during the Six Nations clash with Wales, damaging two vertebrae.
The 25-year-old was stretchered off the field in a neck brace and as the severity of his condition emerged it was reported that the on-field care by physios and Dr James Robson, the experienced Scottish medic, had played a significant role in ensuring he did not suffer permanent paralysis.
Emergency surgery in the immediate aftermath of the injury stabilised his spine and he was given the option of further surgery, which would have left his chances of a comeback minimal.
In the four months since the injury, he has been working hard on getting back to full mobility, but according to the Scotsman nerwspaper, he has informed close friends and family that he will not fly in the face of medical opinion.
“It is devastating for Thom because all you want to do is play top-class rugby for as long as you can, and there is no doubt he would have contributed a lot to Scottish rugby in the years to come,” said Roger Baird, a Scotland winger of the 1980s and a mentor to Evans through the ‘Winning Scotland’ programme, to the newspaper.
“It is also a huge blow for the Scottish game and the Glasgow and Scotland teams because we just don’t have players with his searing out-and-out pace.
“Although he was quite late to rugby we spoke a lot about his defence, positioning and other things and he took them all on and didn’t make the same mistake twice.
He is genuinely brave and strong, with good intelligence for the game, and I could only see him getting better.
“But you also have to get things into perspective. The great thing is that Thom is able to walk.
“I have a good friend David Millar, who recently hand-cycled around New Zealand to raise money for spinal research after spending the last 20 years in a wheelchair, on account of him suffering a spinal injury in a rugby match when he was just a bit younger than Thom.
“Thom knows that very well. He and a lot of the Glasgow and Scotland players were very good friends with Nick Watt, the Merchiston Castle pupil who suffered a spinal injury, going to visit him and offering their support, so Thom knows what could have happened too.
“But he is a very personable lad and he will do well in whatever he does. Scottish rugby will be the worse for his decision, but he didn’t have a choice at the end of the day. I wish him well.”