NRL star forced to retire after frightening health scare
Cowboys fan favourite Te Maire Martin has been forced to hang up the boots.
The 24-year-old utility announced his immediate retirement from rugby league on Sunday after failing to recover fully from a serious injury.
The 24-year-old has made significant strides since the injury, but has not improved enough to receive clearance to return to full contact.
While he was uncontracted, the Cowboys had stood by the playmaker, allowing him to do fitness work alongside the squad as part of the club's rehabilitation ward.
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"The last nine months have been extremely difficult," Martin said in a statement.
"I'd like to reassure everyone that I'm doing well and I have recovered to the point where my day to day life isn't affected, but I can't get past the contact stage of training, which means I can't play footy anymore.
"I'd like to thank the Cowboys for their unwavering support - they could not have done any more for me, particularly the medical staff - as well as the club's members and fans for their well wishes."
The Kiwi international has been a key cog for the Cowboys since arriving midway through the 2017 season, and helped the side reach the grand final against Melbourne that season.
Cowboys Director of Football Peter Parr was glowing in his appraisal of the utility, and reflected on the sadness of losing a player from the game so young.
"We'd like to thank Te Maire for everything he's done for the club. He's been a wonderful contributor since he's been here, he played in a grand final and off the field has had a significant impact on everyone at the club," Parr said.
"It's always sad when someone of his age has to retire, but there's also positives in that he's made significant improvements in his health. We've been given every indication he'll be able to live a normal life and that is far more important than him playing football.
"We're sad to see Te Maire go given he's such a great bloke, but he'll always be welcome at our club and we'll never forget what he's done for us in his time here."