Sad news broke yesterday that George Burgess was retiring, citing injuries as the cause of his early end in the sport.
Burgess, aged 30, is the twin of England international Tom and the younger brother of former cross-code star Sam Burgess. He also played alongside his eldest brother Luke during the four brothers’ time with the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
Capped 15 times for England and having played over 150 games in the NRL he’s one of our sports great success stories down under.
However, he could have been so much more if not for injuries being such a big problem throughout his career.
He became the first ever player to return to top level rugby league having had major surgery to their hip.
That major injury came during his one season spell in the Super League with Wigan Warriors, but after just a year he returned to the NRL and signed for the Dragons having undergone his major surgery in the off season.
His retirement yesterday came with a statement explaining why he’d hung up his boots.
“Unfortunately injuries ended my career before I would’ve liked,” Burgess explained in a post on his Instagram page.
“I am a happy man walking away from this beautiful game with my achievements.”
View this post on Instagram
Whilst it is certainly sad that his playing career has ended aged just 30 it’s still incredible he played for as long as he did given the severe hip injury and operation he underwent.
Burgess suffered from osteoarthritis in his hip and even went as far to have surgery on the joint which was a huge risk.
The process he underwent effectively reshaped the ball and socket joint within his hip and is explained in a tweet from Brien Seeney, a physiotherapist and injury analyst.
All the best to George Burgess who announced his retirement from the NRL yesterday. Earlier than he hoped – due to injury. Battled severe osteoarthritis in his hip for several years & was the first rugby league player to return to the top level after hip resurfacing surgery pic.twitter.com/D885nZmjBB
— NRL PHYSIO (@nrlphysio) November 28, 2022
Having completed that surgery he became the first-ever professional rugby league player to return to the game and play NRL level after invasive hip surgery.
So whilst it’s undoubtedly a shame that Burgess has had to retire early, he’s still an inspiration to plenty of other players who are undergoing hip injuries and he’s proof that there is a way back after major surgery.
It’s also a shame we never got to see him play to his full potential in the Super League, his move to Wigan lasting only a season and his contract being cut one year short by the major hip injury which required the aforementioned surgery.
The one potential light to come of this situation could be that this may trigger his twin Tom to make the switch to Super League as well, as reported here.