Ryan Mason, following a devastating head injury suffered versus Chelsea in January 2017, while playing for Hull City, has retired due to medical advice he received that said he had “no option” but to stop playing the sport.
While the sport comes to terms today with the fact that a player was forced to call time on his career due to an injury suffered during a contested corner - a thing that happens hundreds of times per match - there’s a bit of news that first came to light this past October that revealed the extent to which Arsenal keeper Petr Čech mentored, assisted, and counseled Mason during his time of recovery:
“Straight away, he contacted my family, my fiance and just sort of reassured us that what we were going through was sort of normal and to be expected: not being able to talk, struggling with the light and everything like that.
As soon as I got a bit more strength I was keen to see him because he said ‘as soon as you’re ready, I’d like to come round and speak to you’.
I was a bit worried at first because I hadn’t really spoken to anyone longer than 10 minutes. He walked through the door and sat on my sofa and just said: ‘sit back, don’t say anything, just listen’.
He spoke for about an hour and a half. I didn’t say anything, he just spoke. It was brilliant.
It just reassured us that everything we were going through was part of the process of recovery and we’ve been in touch ever since.
He’s been fantastic. He’s kind of set the standard of what it is to be a proper man and a gentleman.
I’m hoping no one ever does go through that sort of injury again in sports, but if they do go through something similar, I’ll be there like Petr was for me.”
Čech, as you know, suffered a near-fatal head injury in a collision with then-Reading midfielder Stephen Hunt in October 2006. If there was any person in the game that could relate to what Mason was dealing with after his injury, it was Čech. And based on Mason’s account, Čech could not have been any more helpful and sympathetic to the struggle that lay ahead for him.