Retiring at the age of just 28 is not normal for footballers. Many of them, like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, keep going into their 40s. However, life was not as giving for Ryan Mason. While Mason has broken records by becoming the youngest manager in the history of the Premier League, those have come at the cost of his playing career, which is a case of “what could have been”.
Ryan Mason retired at the age of 28 after suffering a horrific head injury while playing for Hull City against Chelsea. Since then, he has been appointed as the U19 head coach at Tottenham, promoted to Assistant Coach, and first-team coach, and has even stepped in as the interim head coach in times of need.
Here’s a look at the unfortunate injury which halted a promising playing career and kickstarted an equally as promising managerial one.
What happened to Ryan Mason?
Frustrated at the lack of first-team opportunities, Ryan Mason moved to Hull City in a club record move worth £13 million. After a bright start came the fateful day of January 22, 2017.
Hull City were playing Chelsea in a Premier League fixture. As Ryan Mason jumped into the air to challenge for the ball, his head collided with Gary Cahill. Ryan Mason came off worse.
He was diagnosed with a fractured skull, the extent of damage being known afterwards. It was revealed that he had 14 metal plates inserted in his skull, with 28 screws holding them in place.
Furthermore, he received 45 staples and a six-inch scar across his head. Despite such a brutal injury, Mason was not giving up. After almost a year of rehabilitation, he tried to return. However, experts ruled that the risk to his repaired skull was too great for him to return.
Therefore, Ryan Mason had to retire from playing at the age of just 28, barely 3 years removed from receiving his England cap.
He announced his retirement on February 13, 2018, and joined Tottenham’s coaching staff in April 2018. In July, he was handed the reins of Tottenham U19.
Sonny 🫂 Ryan Mason pic.twitter.com/VHOC69Xb5Q
— The Spurs Watch (@TheSpursWatch) April 27, 2023
Since then, he has impressed multiple head coaches at Tottenham with his tactical acumen and attention to detail. Amidst much chaos and upheaval at the club, Mason has been the one constant, working with Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santos, and Antonio Conte.
Now a crucial member of the first-team staff, it remains to be seen if he is also on the staff of Tottenham’s new manager, whoever it might be. Either way, Mason has made the best out of the circumstances life threw at him. A promising managerial career surely lies ahead.