Maties captain, 25, retires
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Stalwart Maties flank and captain Beyers de Villiers has been forced to retire from the sport following numerous concussions in a short period of time. Tauriq Ebrahim reports.
De Villiers, who was known for bruising tackles and a no-nonsense approach to the breakdowns, suffered his latest concussion in the opening round of the Varsity Cup against Tuks at Loftus Versfeld. That took his tally to 13 concussions in the space of five years.
A team of doctors and concussion specialists advised de Villiers to take a six-month break from the sport but he opted for retirement.
"The reason for me opting to retire is simply because the repeated concussions has become a health risk.
"I was informed that due to the previous amount of concussions, my recovery time from this latest one would be longer than normal. There is obviously some damage to my skull which has slowed down my reaction time.
"I still get headaches and migraines due to sensitivity to light and I sometimes feel in a daze. All of that are normal symptoms of concussion and even though I was told that I would be out of action for six months following numerous detailed tests, I made the decision to call it a day," de Villiers told rugby365.com.
It is not the end of the sport for the young man though as he remains involved with Maties.
"I will always remain involved with Maties if they want me to be involved, maybe in some sort of coaching capacity, and I certainly be involved for this season.
"I chatted to coach Hawies [Fourie] about this decision and he was of the opinion that it is unsafe for me to continue playing. He told me that if continuing to play affects my health then I should rather be smart about it and make the correct decision," he added.
De Villiers will now focus on completing his second post-grad degree, having already completed a two-year post-grad in Business Management and an undergrad BCom in Logistics and Business Management.
By Tauriq Ebrahim