Former Bradford Bulls star Shontayne Hape quits rugby due to head trauma

Shontayne Hape

Shontayne Hape

First published in Sport
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Former Bradford Bulls centre Shontayne Hape has announced his retirement from rugby after sustaining repeated concussions that led to a range of debilitating symptoms, including depression.

Hape, who enjoyed Grand Final success with Bulls before switching codes, played his final match for French club Montpellier last year, but only this weekend revealed he was forced to hang up his boots because of the head trauma incurred during his league and union careers.

The 33-year-old, who won 13 caps for England between 2010-11, suffered more than 20 concussions and was frequently knocked out, including several times in succession during the 2012-13 season at Montpellier.

Subsequent scans revealed his brain function had been reduced to just above that of someone with special needs and he was advised to retire.

“Things got so bad I couldn’t even remember my pin number - my card got swallowed up twice. My memory was shot,” Hape told the New Zealand Herald.

“The specialist explained that my brain was so traumatised, had swollen so big, that even just getting a tap to the body would knock me out. I had to retire immediately.

“I was thinking I’d rest for a year and then make a come back. That’s why I never told anyone I was retired. I still couldn’t accept it was over.”

Among the symptoms Auckland-born Hape felt were constant migraines, sensitivity to light and sound, irritability, depression and memory loss.

“There was constant pressure from the coaches (to play),” the former New Zealand Warriors, Bath and London Irish back said.

“Most coaches don’t care what happens later on in your life. It’s about the here and now. Everyone wants success.

“They just think, ‘If we pay you this you are going to do this’. Players are just pieces of meat.

“When the meat gets too old and past its use by date, the club just buys some more.”

Hape joined the Bulls in 2002 and helped them win the Grand Final in 2003 and 2005 before switching codes in 2008 when he joined Bath.

 

Comments (6)

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8:43pm Sun 1 Jun 14

Paul from Idle says...

Good luck Shontayne you were a joy to watch.
Good luck Shontayne you were a joy to watch. Paul from Idle
  • Score: 16

8:59pm Sun 1 Jun 14

portugalbull says...

Good luck in your retirement. Thanks for the entertainment and success with the Bulls.
Good luck in your retirement. Thanks for the entertainment and success with the Bulls. portugalbull
  • Score: 13

9:10pm Sun 1 Jun 14

Kellington Bull says...

Shontayne was undoubtedly one of the best centres ever to wear a Northern/Bulls shirt. I sincerely hope your future is bright.
Shontayne was undoubtedly one of the best centres ever to wear a Northern/Bulls shirt. I sincerely hope your future is bright. Kellington Bull
  • Score: 15

7:24am Mon 2 Jun 14

bartsbull says...

Shonny your smile will always light the terrace at the bulls good luck in whatever you do SHAPE COyB
Shonny your smile will always light the terrace at the bulls good luck in whatever you do SHAPE COyB bartsbull
  • Score: 4

12:02pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Videoref says...

Hope everything works out well for you Shontayne. Thanks for the enjoyment you gave us at Odsal
Hope everything works out well for you Shontayne. Thanks for the enjoyment you gave us at Odsal Videoref
  • Score: 2

12:44pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Oldbull says...

Thanks for all the great memories of when you played at Bulls. Best wishes to you and your family and remember you are always a welcome guest at Odsal.
Thanks for all the great memories of when you played at Bulls. Best wishes to you and your family and remember you are always a welcome guest at Odsal. Oldbull
  • Score: 2

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