Torquay United defender Ryan Higgins has been forced to retire at the age of 23 after being diagnosed with a serious heart condition.
The Gulls outlined the details on his retirement in the following posted on the club website:
It has been a long process of tests and a difficult time for Ryan and his family, with the very sad news coming through last week.
Ryan arrived at Plainmoor from Southport in the summer, having won Player of the Season at Haig Avenue. He was a youngster at Everton and then turned professional for Birmingham City, with Telford United and Chester also among his former clubs.
“My sister was rushed to hospital with a heart condition back in November,” said Ryan. “I was actually at training here in Torquay when I received a call from my family to say my sister had been taken into hospital. I had a few weeks away with my family in what was a very worrying time for all of us.
“I did briefly return to football but, after further investigation, the doctors informed us that my sister’s condition was hereditary and all of us in the family would need to undergo tests.