As reported by the BBC this morning, Great Britain and England hockey player Sam Ward has been forced to retire after losing the sight in his left eye.
The 28-year-old was struck in the face by the ball, while trying to move out of the way of a Harry Martin shot, during the Olympic qualifying play-off win against Malaysia on 3 November.
Ward, scoring twice in the match, missed the remainder of the game as he was rushed straight to hospital for treatment, suffering a crushed retina and facial fractures.
Ward broke into the Great Britain & England set up under Bobby Crutchley in 2014. Making himself near on impossible to be overlooked through the number of goals he was scoring at club level for Beeston. A fresh face talent took the international stage by storm, continuing his club form on the world stage, scoring 72 goals in 126 internationals.
Having had his fair share of injuries throughout his career, Ward also missed the 2018 World Cup with a concussion.
Making his international debut in 2014 and representing Great Britain at the Rio 2016 Olympics, Ward has been an ever-present in international hockey, featuring in twelve major tournaments and helping his country to win four bronze medals.
Sam will be truly missed on the international stage by all his teammates, supporters and opposition alike.
Australian international goalkeeper Tyler Lovell said, “I considered Sam to be one of the toughest, hard-nosed strikers in the world, he was always prepared to put his body on the line for his team, and he will be a big loss for England”.
2018 Commonwealth Games – Bronze
2017 World League Semi-Final – Bronze
2017 EuroHockey Championships – Bronze
2015 World League Semi-Final – Bronze
2019 EuroHockey Championships
2019 Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament
2018 Commonwealth Games
2017 World League Semi-Final
2017 EuroHockey Championships
2017 World League Final
2016 Champions Trophy
2016 Olympic Games
2015 World League Semi-Final
2015 EuroHockey Championships
2015 World League Final
2014 Champions Trophy
All at Hockey World News wish Sam the very best of health and hope for a speedy recovery from his injuries.
Shortly after we posted this article a press release from England Hockey stated Sam has not retired from hockey.
Sam commented: “Over the last week, I have received advice from three separate eye consultants. They have all told me that I have suffered damage to the retina of my left eye and that this damage is partly irreversible.
“I may get some sight back, but this won’t be a quick process, and whether it will be sufficient for me to get back to playing international hockey only time will tell. It is a tough pill to swallow but, as people know, I am not one to give up easily and I will do everything can to make myself available for selection for Tokyo.”