Former New Zealand international Lance Hohaia is retiring from rugby league because of recurring concussion issues.
The 32-year-old former Warriors utility announced his retirement from current Super League side St Helens with immediate effect, just over six months since being knocked unconscious by Wigan forward Ben Flower in the Grand Final.
In a statement, Hohaia said he has been suffering from “recurrent post-match concussion-type symptoms”.
He said the symptoms have occurred since returning to play after the off-season.
“This is the reason for my retirement.
“I am currently seeking expert medical advice to understand any potential effects to my long-term health,” he added.
“However, in the meantime I would like to say that I am extremely grateful for the career I have had and the opportunity to play for my country and such prestigious clubs as St Helens and the NZ Warriors.
“I would also like to sincerely thank all those who have supported me throughout my career and during this difficult time”.
Saints say Hohaia told them he had decided to hang up his boots but they steadfastly refused to offer an explanation for the surprise development other than to say it was the player’s own decision.
Hohaia was off contract at the end of the season and, unlikely to be offered a new deal, had spoken about moving to the United States to start a new life with his America-born wife and two young boys, who were both born in England.
He has been studying a diploma in management as he prepares for life after rugby and recently spoke about the prospect of retirement.
The hooker or halfback was at fullback when the Kiwis beat Australia in the 2008 World Cup final in Brisbane.
Hohaia won 29 caps for the Kiwis, made 185 appearances for New Zealand Warriors from 2002 to 2011, before joining the Saints on a four-year deal.