Rochdale’s Joe Thompson has announced his intention to retire from football, having twice recovered from cancer during his career.
The 29-year-old bounced back from his life-threatening condition to score the goal that kept Dale in League One last season, having only returned from cancer in December 2017.
He played 203 games for the Spotland club across three spells, having started out there, joined on loan from Tranmere and eventually returned in 2016. he’s now set to pursue a career in motivational speaking, although he admits it has been a tough decision.
“My decision to retire is one of the hardest I’ve ever made,” he said.
“I have battled through some of life’s hardest challenges and have managed to overcome them. However, I’ve pushed my body to the absolute limit.
“My mind has grown stronger but with the intense treatment my body has had to endure over the last six years it is no longer able to perform to the demands of the professional game.”
Thompson was first diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma while playing for Tranmere Rovers in 2013. he was given the all clear in 2014 and after spells Bury and Carlisle he re-joined Dale.
He was diagnosed with cancer again in March 2017, but was in complete remission by 2017 and returned for the remainder of the 2017-18 season.Of his future intentions, the inspirational player said: “I believe I have a duty to mentor to younger professionals in the game.
“I also feel my story has the power to help others in all walks of life to overcome their own adversities and empower them to fulfil their potential.”
Joe Thompson has to be one of the bravest players out there, battling back not once, but twice from cancer. His goal on the final day of the season was a wonderful finish to his story, but this season he’s not been as effective for Dale as he might like.
He’s now going to concentrate on himself and his health, as well as helping others.
Few players will stick in the memory as long as Joe Thompson, a true role model and inspiration.