Nathan Baker forced to retire nine months after suffering head injury

Cardiff City v Bristol City – Sky Bet Championship – Cardiff City Stadium
(Image credit: Simon Galloway)

Bristol City defender Nathan Baker has retired from professional football after doctors determined continuing to play would present a “significant risk” to his health.

Baker sustained a head injury in the Robins’ match at Sheffield United on November 28th, 2021 – requiring 24 hours of hospitalisation.

The 31-year-old made his decision following nine months of tests, treatment and recuperation and on the advice from his medical team.

He said: “Football has been a massive part of my life from a very young age, so this has not been the easiest decision for me, however I must take the advice from the medical team and consultants.

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“It’s sad to think I won’t be playing football again, there are so many things I am going to miss, such as my team-mates, the friendships made, plus a good tackle! But I must put my health and family first, it’s not worth the risk.”

Baker joined Bristol City on loan from Aston Villa in 2015, then made his move permanent on a £3.5 million deal.

A club statement stressed that Baker “is currently well, without any neurological or cognitive issues, but is likely to be monitored with further neuro-psychology testing in the future”.

“Having assessed his progression over a period of nine months, Nathan has been advised by medical professionals that to carry on playing at a professional level would represent a significant risk to his ongoing and future health,” the statement added.

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Baker, a former England Under-21 defender, made 138 appearances and scored three goals for Bristol City.

Manager Nigel Pearson added: “It’s a sad day for any player when they have to step away from the game, especially in Nathan’s case when it’s a lot earlier than he had planned.

“However, the health and safety of players must come first and we fully support the advice given to Nathan to ensure his health is the primary concern.

“Nathan was a fabulous servant to our club and popular in dressing room as well in the stands with the supporters. We wish him all the best for the future as he starts his life away from the pitch with his young family.”

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