Republic of Ireland star Kevin Doyle forced to retire early from football over ‘concerning headaches’
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Republic of Ireland star Kevin Doyle forced to retire early from football over ‘concerning headaches’

REPUBLIC of Ireland striker Kevin Doyle has been forced to retire at the age of just 34 because of “repeated headaches” from heading the ball.

The Co. Wexford native, who has been playing in the United States for Colorado Rapids since 2015, retired based on medical advice following a series of concussions.

The former Cork City, Reading and Wolves forward said heading the ball was becoming difficult because of the headaches that he would be would be left with.

Doyle explained he wanted "to avoid the possibility of these symptoms becoming more serious and permanent".

He added that he made the decision having suffered "numerous" concussions since he became a professional football in 2002.

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"This year it has been clear to me that heading the ball was becoming problematic and causing me to have repeated headaches," he said.

"Two concussions this season and numerous others over the years have made this more concerning.

"I'm sad to announce that after listening to medical advice I will play no further part this season and will be retiring.

"I will take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me during my career, especially my family, all the coaches and team-mates I've had and the fans of any team I've played for, whether in Ireland, the UK or the USA."

Doyle made his full international debut against Sweden at Lansdowne Road aged 22 in March 2006.

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His final game for the Republic of Ireland came in a disappointing 4-0 loss to the Netherlands back in August.

In all, Doyle represented his country 64 times, most notably appearing at Euro 2012.

From a club perspective, the Irishman won the Championship with Reading in 2006 and League One with Wolves in 2014.

He also won promotion to the Premier League with QPR via the play-offs three years ago.

Individually, Doyle was named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year in 2006.

He scored a total of 148 goals in 565 professional appearances over an impressive 15-year career in professional football.