At just 24 years of age, Parramatta Eels forward Keegan Hipgrave has had no option but to hang the boots up for good.
A serious concussion has forced Parramatta Eels forward Keegan Hipgrave into retirement at just 24.
Hipgrave picked the head knock up in the derby clash with the Penrith Panthers in round 25 and, after seeking medical advice, has had no option but to cut his career short.
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“I’m so grateful to have been able to call rugby league my job for the past 7 years,” Hipgrave wrote on Instagram.
“Unfortunately, it’s my time to hang up the boots. After discussions with neurologists and my family, I’ve made the decision to retire from the NRL.
“I’ve had best time, met some great friends, made a ton of memories and wouldn’t change any of it for the world.
“Huge thank you to @theparraeels for supporting me through this. I’m not sure where 2022 will take me but I’m excited to see what the next chapter holds.”
Hipgrave’s Instagram post garnered support from Eels fans as well as from fellow NRL stars Connor Watson, Jahrome Hughes, Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Nathan Brown among others.
Hipgrave retires with 49 first-grade appearances to his name, having made his NRL debut with the Gold Coast Titans in 2017.
After four seasons on the glitter strip, he moved to Parramatta, where he made nine appearances this year, mostly from the bench.
The Eels said they were committed to supporting Hipgrave in his transition into retirement.
“Keegan has been a wonderful addition to our club and a very popular member of the team,” Parramatta Eels general manager of football Mark O’Neill said.
“While it’s a shame his career has prematurely come to an end due to injury, the health and wellbeing of our players is always our first priority.”