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BATH RUGBY: Charlie salute for departing Mears
CHARLIE Beech is thankful that teammate Lee Mears’ heart condition was identified before the Bath legend’s health was put at risk.
The 33-year-old former England international announced his immediate retirement from the game on Monday after a routine cardiac check revealed that the hooker, a veteran of 268 club appearances and 42 England caps, could develop heart problems if he continued to play at the highest level.
Prop Beech says that Mears’ departure from the Bath squad will leave a huge void but the 25-year-old is hoping that he can still learn as much as possible from his compatriot while he remains a part of the furniture at the Rec.
“It’s horrible when this kind of thing happens but it was spotted before something bad happened and you’ve got to be thankful for that,” said Beech.
“When you think about what happened to that footballer (Fabrice Muamba, who suffered an on-pitch cardiac arrest during a televised match in March 2012), that was really harrowing and I think that all his teammates needed help afterwards because of it.
“He (Mears) has been at Bath his whole career and it’s been great to play alongside him.
“I think he’ll be sticking around for a while so hopefully I can steal as much of his knowledge as possible.
“It sounds horrible but we’ve all got to move on as quickly as we can.
“He’ll be difficult to replace but I’m sure that our squad has got the depth to deal with that.”
Mears is proud of his 17-year career with Bath and said he was maintaining a positive outlook on his future.
“It was tough news to get but I’m a positive kind of person and looking on the bright side of things,” he said.
“Tests had shown that there was thickening in the wall of the heart which threw up potential serious risks for me if it were to develop any further. So that was it.
“I am proud of being a one-club man and I wanted to see out my days at Bath. The club have been brilliant.”
Bath head coach Gary Gold said: “Mearsy is a legend, pure and simple.
“His retirement will be felt by all of us at the club, and also by the supporters who have cheered him on over the years.”
- WARMINSTER’S Military Wives choir will perform before and at half time of Bath’s home clash with London Irish tomorrow (2.15pm).
Tickets are available on 0844 448 1865 or from the ticket office on Pulteney Bridge in Bath.
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