Hull City Defender, Ryan Mason, retires aged 26

Ryan Mason suffered a cracked skull when he clashed with Gary Cahill when defending a corner at Stamford Bridge on 22 January 2017.

Chelsea's English defender Gary Cahill (L) and Hull City's English midfielder Ryan Mason clash heads during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Hull City at Stamford Bridge in London on 22 January 2017. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Hull City defender and England international Ryan Mason has retired from all football after a long-term head injury which ruled him out for more than one year.

Mason suffered a cracked skull when he clashed with Chelsea defender Gary Cahill while defending a corner at Stamford Bridge on 22 January 2017.

The Tiger’s defender was treated on the field for nine minutes. Mason underwent emergency surgery where pressure had to be relieved from his brain at the St. Mary’s hospital in London and was released eight days later.

After struggling with recovery over the last 13 months, Mason admitted that he “had no option” but to retire.

Speaking to Eyewitness News, Dr John Patricios, Director of Sports Concussion South Africa, says pressure around the brain is caused by a buildup of blood and brain fluid around the brain.

Speaking to the rarity of such injuries, Patricios says most head injuries are not life-threatening. He says chances of a life-threatening injury are quite slim, adding that most injuries are mild – and that’s where concussion lies.

“It’s actually very rare that a clash would cause a life-threatening injury and hence it makes the headlines because it is not that common”

Patricios believes that football should amend their medical assessment times during matches.

“Football doesn’t really facilitate an adequate assessment of injured players on the field. They allow for a three-minute period, which is an almost ‘on-the-run’ assessment.”

He cited rugby, and other international sports, on injury assessments being improved in football.

“If you take rugby and other sporting codes around the world, there’s a dedicated time allowed for an off-field assessment of at least 10 minutes and those are international guidelines released in 2016 by the Concussion in Sports group.

Current regulations dictate that play is immediately stopped when a head injury occurs to allow for medical assessments.