Ryan Mason forced to retire at 26 due to fractured skull

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Ryan Mason has called time on his playing career on the advice of neurologists and neurosurgeons.

The 26-year-old suffered a fractured skull against Chelsea on Jan. 22, 2017, and has been unable to play since. The retired midfielder asked Hull City to put on record his appreciation for its support and efforts to aid his recovery in Tuesday's announcement.

Mason started his career with Tottenham Hotspur, appearing for the club 53 times in the league and winning a cap for England in 2015. He was signed by Hull for a club-record £13-million fee in August 2016 and quickly established himself as an integral player for the Yorkshire outfit before a frightening clash of heads with Chelsea's Gary Cahill.

"It has been an emotional rollercoaster and I feel lucky to be alive, but I'm happy to say that I'm now at home resting and recovering," Mason said nine days after the incident.

There has been an outpouring of emotion and support following Mason's decision to step away from the sport. Gary Lineker called his retirement "a real shame for an extremely talented footballer," and Iain Hume, who returned to the pitch after suffering a fractured skull, expressed his upset but said Mason's "got a long life after football to look after."

"Thank you to my amazing fiancee, Rachel, who has been by my side and lived every single day with me since the injury, helping to give me the strength I've needed no matter how tough things got. We are so lucky to have now become the parents of our perfect baby boy George," Mason said in a statement, as reported by the Guardian.

"To my mum, dad, sisters, and all of my family and close friends, thank you for everything. Despite how tough it's been and the challenges I've faced along the way you've all been there supporting me and words will never truly do justice to how grateful I am for your love and support."

Ryan Mason forced to retire at 26 due to fractured skull
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