BAK IT IN Bristol City star Nathan Baker forced to retire aged 31 after picking up horror head injury last season
BRISTOL CITY star Nathan Baker has been forced into early retirement after picking up a horrific head injury last season.
Baker, 31, suffered the gruesome injury in Bristol’s clash against Sheffield United last November.
The defender was hospitalised for 24 hours after falling awkwardly following an aerial duel with a Blades player.
And he’s been ruled out of action ever since the incident that happened just five weeks after he had a similar injury against West Brom.
Baker had to be stretchered off the pitch while receiving oxygen in the match against the Baggies which also saw two fans taken to hospital.
The ex-Aston Villa made a full recovery before the unfortunate clash of heads against Sheffield United.
He subsequently spent nine months at home recuperating with the help of medical professionals who have advised him that continuing to play football “represents a significant risk to his ongoing and future health.”
And now Bristol have confirmed that Baker’s taken heed of that advice.
The club announced on Twitter: “#BristolCity regrets to announce the retirement of defender Nathan Baker on medical grounds.
The 31-year-old will step away from the game as a consequence of the head injury he sustained at Sheffield United on November 28th, 2021.”
Baker followed this up by saying: “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.
“It’s sad to think I won’t be playing football again, there are so many things I’m going to miss, such as my teammates, the friendships made, plus a good tackle! But I must put my health and family first, it’s not worth the risk.
“I’d like to thank all the staff at Bristol City for doing all they can to help me through this tough time. And I’d like to thank the fans who have supported me throughout my career at Bristol City and Aston Villa.
“I’m so grateful and lucky to have had the opportunity to play for such great clubs and even represent my country. There are so many memories that will always stay with me.”
Bristol boss Nigel Pearson shared Baker’s disappointment, adding: “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.”
Baker made 324 appearances, and scored five goals along with five assists in a fruitful career that saw him play for Aston Villa, Lincoln City, Millwall, and Bristol.
He joined Villa’s academy aged 13 in 2004 before making his professional debut in 2010.
The Englishman made 123 appearances for Villa, and spent time on loan with Lincoln and Milwall, then moved to Bristol in 2017 where he featured in 148 matches.