LONDON Feb 11 Former England hooker Lee Mears has retired from rugby on the advice of doctors after an abnormality was detected during a cardiac screening.
"There is a significant potential risk of developing further complications if he continues to perform the prolonged strenuous exercises required to be an elite rugby player," read a statement on his club Bath's website on Monday.
"This is not how I saw it ending but I feel enormously proud to have played for such a club so many times," Mears, 33, said on the website (www.bathrugby.com).
"This will be a tough period but the memories I have and the friends I have made over the years will be of huge support. Thank you to the club and to the supporters, I've loved every minute."
Mears played 42 times for England, featuring in the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, and also played for the British and Irish Lions in South Africa in 2009. He made his final international appearance off the bench in last June's draw with South Africa in Port Elizabeth.
He has been at Bath since 1997. (Writing by Tom Pilcher, Editing by Clare Fallon)