Goulding: I couldn’t risk another knock

Darrell Goulding in action for Warriors
Darrell Goulding in action for Warriors

DARRELL Goulding revealed he suffered from memory-loss following his latest concussion - prompting him to hang up his boots.

The former Wigan centre announced yesterday he was quitting the sport, aged just 27.

And speaking to the Evening Post, he admitted the decision was effectively made for him after doctors told him he risked permanent damage if he continued playing.

He said: “I’ve had a lot of concussions over the years but after this last one, I’ve never had it so bad.

“They scanned it and found a bleed on the brain.

“I struggled to do exercise, I had blurred vision, I was struggling to recall memories – I’d never had that before.

“It’s getting better now but I’m still not 100 per cent. I spoke to two specialist and they both said don’t play rugby again. As soon as they told me the consequences if I did – that symptoms could become permanent – it made the decision for me, really.”

Wigan-born Goulding – who moved from the Warriors to Hull KR in the off-season – suffered a head knock playing against Huddersfield on Easter Monday.

He faced Castleford days later, in what transpired to be the last game of his decade-long Super League career.

“When I first started off there wasn’t much known about concussion,” he said. “It was a case of, ‘you get knocked out and carry on playing’, now the clubs and the RFL are better prepared, and people are more aware.

“I’m sad to retire, but my health is more important.”

A product of the St Pat’s amateur club, Goulding made his Wigan debut as a teenager in 2005 and went on to feature 174 times for the club.

He scored 72 tries - and provided many more for his wingers with his stylish, unselfish centre play. He won the league and Cup double with Wigan just two years ago, but picks out the 2010 Grand Final as his highlight.

He plans to take a break before deciding his next career path, but would like to stay involved in rugby league.

Warriors rugby manager Kris Radlinski called him the “definition of a team player.”

Goulding said: “It’s sad that I’m not going to play any more, but I’m more than happy with the career I’ve had. a good lifestyle, I’ve been to some great places and met some wonderful people along the way.

“I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has supported me. It was a privilege to play for Wigan for so long.”