Bournemouth defender Rhoys Wiggins has been forced to retire due to a serious knee problem suffered more than 18 months ago.
The 30-year-old, who was on loan at Birmingham at the time of the injury in October 2016, has undergone a series of operations but been unable to make a full recovery.
“This isn’t something I ever thought I would have to write at the age of 30, but due to the injury I sustained I am unfortunately not able to continue with the job I love to do,” Wiggins wrote in an open letter to fans.
“I have been battling for the last two years, doing everything possible to get back out there, but my knee just won’t allow me to do so.”
“I feel I have done everything possible to give myself the best chance of a return to the pitch and, for that, I can hold my head high.
“It’s not been easy since the injury. I’ve had three operations, along with countless injections and drainages of the knee.
“A lot of people are also unaware that I had an accident after my first operation and sustained a fractured skull.
“This was, and has been, the most challenging time of my life.
“I have not only had to deal with the injury, operations and the other freak accident, but I have also found out at the end of a lot of hard work from everyone involved that it was not meant to be, and I would have to give up on my dream once and for all.
“I’m absolutely gutted on a number of levels. I feel that with previous injures throughout my career I never got to show my true potential, and never quite reached the level I felt was possible for me to achieve.
“This is the worst thing about having to retire early – that I will never get the chance to prove what I believed all along.
“Having said that, I have to keep my head high. I still made it and in doing so proved a lot of people wrong along the way.
“I have enjoyed many years playing football and been involved in some great teams with some great people. I have made history and memories that I will be proud to tell my daughter.”
Despite being unable to take to the field in his most recent spell with Cherries, Wiggins also took the time to acknowledge the club for their continued support.
He added: “I have to thank AFC Bournemouth and the fans for everything. I have received nothing but the best possible care from everyone from the first day I returned, to the day I called it quits.
“It is a team not just on the pitch but throughout, and that runs from every member of staff through to each player.
Rhoys Wiggins also played for Crystal Palace, Norwich City and Sheffield Wednesday.