Stevie Ward still struggling with dizziness and migraines a year after suffering concussion

This time last year Stevie Ward had just been made captain of the Leeds Rhinos and was reaching the pinnacle of this career.

But, 12 months on he's not captaining his boyhood club. He's not even playing the game he's loved since he was six years old. Stevie Ward is retired.

Stevie Ward announced his retirement from Rugby League in January

After suffering concussion on the opening weekend of the 2020 season he's never been the same since.

Migraines and dizziness hasn't just robbed him of his career, it's affected his day to day life. Ward can't even exercise properly without suffering the effects of concussion.

Stevie's parents Colin and Anne have also opened up about seeing their son having to retire.

Stevie's parents are hurt by the trolling he's received on social media

Speaking to Calendar Colin said, 'This attitude of go out and play, carry on son there is nothing wrong with you kid. That's the sort of thing you're up against. '

Mum Anne added, 'Things you see on social media, I've had to stop going on it because I lose my rag. You get people that have got no idea what's going on really and that's what annoys me about the situation. '

Stevie Ward helped the Leeds Rhinos win the Grand Final in 2017

Ward lived his dream playing over 130 games for the Leeds Rhinos during his nine years with the club. In that time he won six major honours including the Grand Final back in 2017.

Now Ward and the Rhinos are teaming up with the cities universities who are taking a leading role in collision research. 

Professor Ben Jones from Leeds Beckett University said. 'Instrumented mouth guards which are a new technology which have emerged in the last 12 months allows us to understand loads players are exposed too, the collision loads and how that effects head impacts which then better allows us to monitor players.'

Ward has been named Director of Player Welfare for the Canadian Co-Operative Championship

Ward might have hung up his boots but he's hasn't completely stepped away from the game. He's has taken up the role as Director of Welfare and Safety in a new Canadian Co-Operative Championship.

'I guess they say when one door closes another one opens and this just seemed like an obvious thing to go and do. I think it's so exciting they way the guys are talking about it, how innovative and authentic it's going to be. It's defiantly in alignment in with the next chapter for me.'

Ward is continuing to battle with his symptoms but hopes the new research will stop more players from having to quit the sport.