Macauley Davies has spoken of the heart-breaking moment he was told his rugby career was over.
Earlier this month, a scan after a concussion injury revealed the 22-year-old has Chiari Malformation, a condition where lower parts of the brain have been pushed downwards towards the spinal cord.
Because of his condition, continuing with playing rugby was too much of a risk to his health, and he admits he may never fully accept having to call time on his career at such a young age.
“It’s hard to get around that you’re never going to play again and your dreams from being eight years old are shattered,” he told BBC Manchester last night.
“I’m slowly getting through it. I might never get over it, it’s always going to affect me, but if I keep going and keep my head down it will be all right.”
Davies made his Wigan debut in 2016, but hadn’t featured since as he played in the Championship to try and work his way up the ranks.
It was while playing for Swinton he was concussed, which led to the scan which revealed his condition.
“On the day [of my scan result], I hadn’t played for two weeks and the amount of general concussion tests you have to go through before you can play [is a lot],” he said.
“I woke up on the morning and I was saying to my mum, ‘I’m praying they can let me play this weekend and get back into it’.
“I went for the results with my dad and it was like he [the doctor] didn’t want to break it to me.
“He drew a diagram for me of my brain.
“My dad stopped him and said ‘are we talking about my son here’ because he didn’t want to believe him.
“I sunk into my chair. I didn’t know what to say. I said to him: ‘so you’re saying my career’s over’ and he just nodded.”
Now Davies is looking at new career paths under the guidance of Wigan Warriors, including welfare and education manager Steve McCormack.
Having completed his level one coaching badge at the age of 19, Davies is looking for a career away from rugby league though.
“I’ve been down and thinking about what’s next and worrying if I can’t get something by December when my contract is finished.
“It’s a tough time to get your head around it, but I’ve got good people around me like my family and friends and team-mates,” he said.
“Steve Mac’s pointing me in different directions with my career and the support’s been outstanding.
“I can’t fault it. It has helped me and if I hadn’t had it, it would probably be worse.
“I’m not saying I’m great, I’m still hurting and grieving from it, but it is a massive help.”