The world of Rugby has been rocked by the news that former Leicester Tiger’s captain Ed Slater has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND).
The 33-year-old England Saxons international, has retired from professional rugby with immediate effect, following news of the diagnosis, which was confirmed last week.
The news has resulted in an outpouring of support, with a Just Giving page set up by Gloucester Rugby, Mr Slater’s current club, receiving over £40,000 of donations in less than 24 hours.
A statement from Gloucester, who the back-five forward has been with for the last five years, reads: “Gloucester Rugby is deeply pained to announce that Ed Slater has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND). Following six months of testing, Ed’s diagnosis was confirmed last week and as a result, with the support of his family, friends and Gloucester Rugby, he has made the difficult decision to retire from professional rugby with immediate effect.
“Everyone at Gloucester Rugby – players, management and staff – are entirely committed to supporting Ed, his wife Jo and his three children in whatever way required. We know the same will be true of Gloucester and Leicester fans, and the wider rugby community. While Ed, his family and the club take time to determine next steps, Gloucester Rugby have opened a JustGiving page. The direction of these funds will be determined in due course, whether it be supporting Ed and his family directly and/or a selected MND charity.”
Born in Leicester, Slater began his rugby career at Milton Keynes before moving to Australia where he played for Eastern Suburbs in Sydney. After returning to the UK, he joined Nottingham, before linking up with his hometown club Leicester Tigers in the summer of 2010, where he played 148 games.
In a tweet Leicester said they were “extremely saddened” by the news, with The Rugby Players’ Association offering their support to Mr Slater’s family during this difficult time.
“The RPA team and members are extremely saddened to hear of the retirement of Ed Slater today due to MND diagnosis. He’s been an outstanding player for Gloucester and Leicester over his long and distinguished career,” they said.
“We will always be here to help and support Ed and his family as they face the challenges ahead, and will be on hand to provide our dedicated services for them through this difficult time.”
To donate to the cause, visit: https://justgiving.com/crowdfunding/gloucesterrugby-4ed
For more information on MND, which is a degenerative brain condition, visit: https://www.mndassociation.org