Retiring Norfolk rugby ace Finlay Barnham is focusing on the future

Finlay Barnham in action for Nottingham.

Finlay Barnham in action for Nottingham. - Credit: Submitted

Retiring from rugby at the age of just 24 could have been a crushing blow for Finlay Barnham – fortunately however, he had a 'plan B'.

The scrum-half, originally from King's Lynn, made 83 appearances for English second-tier club Nottingham after joining from the academy of Leicester Tigers in 2010.

But problems caused by on-going concussion symptoms have led to Barnham making the difficult decision.

'I've experienced enough depression, that's one of the symptoms of concussion, so I've had enough depression to last me a lifetime and I don't intend to continue that. I want to enjoy my life,' the former pupil of Lynn's King Edward VII School explained.

'Depression, bouts of crying, night terrors can all be symptoms as well. One night I jumped out of bed and into my bedside table because of a night terror and ended up with a bruised head.

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'I often experienced severe head rushes when standing from a seated position and struggled to complete any light physical activity for 18 weeks without the typical concussive symptoms surfacing.'

The former West Norfolk RFC junior player, who also completed a rugby scholarship at Norwich School, has spent the last six months battling his injury problems.

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But after consultation with Nottingham's club doctor and two specialist neurologists, Barnham heeded their advice to retire to avoid further damage.

'I've had multiple concussions, five recorded by doctors and there is a thought process that it is many more that have gone unrecorded,' Barnham explained.

'It's just one of those things, there's nothing you can do to prevent concussions in rugby, it is a contact sport.

'I have got absolutely no issues, I blame absolutely no one, it's what happens in sport unfortunately.'

Barnham lives in Nottingham now but still visits his parents in King's Lynn regularly. He first started playing mini rugby at West Norfolk RFC at the age of four because he was so keen to play, practising with the under-sevens.

Despite suffering such a disappointing blow in his senior career however, Barnham has plenty of options for him to now consider.

He graduated with first class honours from Loughborough University in sports science and business management, has been gaining industry experience alongside his playing career and an accountancy qualification.

'I've always been an advocate of having a 'plan B' as a professional sports career is short and fragile,' Barnham added.

'While I didn't think I'd need my plan B quite so soon, it's stood me in good stead and I have some great work experience under my belt having worked within management consultancy and investment firm TPUK.

'I'm excited about the next chapter of my life and where it might take me.'

Do you know of a sportsman with an inspiring story? Contact sports reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or

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