Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech believes Ryan Mason’s determined effort to resurrect his playing career after suffering a fractured skull makes him an inspirational figure.
Midfielder Mason, who was capped once by England against Italy in 2015, clashed heads with Chelsea defender Gary Cahill at Stamford Bridge when playing for Hull 13 months ago.
The accidental collision caused the injury that on Tuesday led 26-year-old Mason to announce his retirement on medical advice, conceding he would be endangering himself by playing on.
Cech suffered his own major head injury in 2006 when playing for Chelsea against Reading. He was able to return to action within three months and sympathised with Mason.
He wrote on Twitter: “Yesterday was a sad day for one incredible young man .@RyanMason . Although his story didn’t finish with ultimate happy ending , his determination , attitude and bravery he’s shown during his recovery is something to be admired and an inspiration for others ! All the best Ryan”
Cahill himself also wrote of his devastation at seeing the player having to retire, with the Chelsea man tweeting:
Devastated to hear today’s news from Ryan. Competing for a corner is something we’ve done thousands of times and to see those consequences for a top professional like Ryan is heartbreaking. Sending all my love to him and his family, and wishing him the best for the future.
— Gary Cahill (@GaryJCahill) February 13, 2018
Hull forward Jarrod Bowen said the Tigers squad were “gutted” for Mason.
Speaking ahead of Friday’s FA Cup trip to Chelsea, Bowen said: “It was gutting. We’ve all been waiting (for news). You’ve got to put your life first. I think we’re all more gutted for him. I’m sure he’ll be around to see us again.”