Former NRL hardman Boyd Cordner has opened up in a heartbreaking moment on SAS Australia.
Emotion got the better of the ex-Sydney Roosters superstar as he went into detail over his premature exit from the game.
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Cordner hung up the boots on his stellar career in 2021 following a lengthy battle with concussion.
He played his final game of professional rugby league in Game I of the 2020 State of Origin series at Adelaide Oval, when he sustained a head knock that forced him from the field.
At the time of his retirement at the age of 29 he was the captain of his club, state and country with 183 NRL games under his belt.
On Tuesday night the rugby league great lifted the lid on the toll his battle took on him and the heartbreaking moment he called time on his career.
“I still suffer symptoms now, especially with the constant headaches and the light-headedness sometimes and the sensitivity to the light and noise,” he said.
“It’s disappointing. I’ve had countless injuries since I was a kid and late in my career went through a rough trot with concussion. Ended up you know through that year where I retired I had a string of about three together and started to suffer some pretty bad headaches.
“Dealing with symptoms of concussion, I would have days where I would break down crying. It was all a bit too much for me.
“I was the captain of my club, state and country at that time and that was the toughest time mentally that I had to go through.
“At the end of the day it was my decision. I didn’t know what the next head knock would bring.
“It’s quite a scary thought when you think about the long term effects that concussion or traumatic brain injuries could have. I had to put everything into perspective and work out my long term priorities.
“Memories are everything and they make up who you are as a person. Those memories are priceless.”
Cordner also delved into the tragic death of his mother when he was four years old and how that affected him.
“I had a great childhood, but it didn’t start out great,” he said as tears started to well in his eyes.
“I lost my mum to breast cancer when I was four years old. At that age, it’s sort of … I don’t have too many memories of her, which is probably the worst thing.
“When I was four, I’d run up to mum and jump on the bed when she wasn’t doing too well … it’s not the greatest memory, but it’s something that I’ll hold onto forever.
“It’s not until you get a bit older and you look back on your childhood and you think, as good as it was, how different would it be if she was there guiding me or just there to be a mum.” In a separate piece to camera, Cordner added: “You’d change everything to go back and have mum back, but I’ve been very blessed to have the best, loving family that I could have asked for.”
His heartbreaking reveals during his interview left fans watching on praising his mental strength and character.
Journalist Paul Cochrane wrote on X: “Boyd Cordner is such an impressive bloke … was always an upstanding character to deal with when I was a journo covering his football career and it’s great to see those traits on show to a broader national TV audience on SAS Australia.”
Another added: “Boyd Cordner. What can you say. Just an incredible, genuine human being. And a blessing to the Roosters club.”
Cordner was ultimately withdrawn from the reality show after tearing his pectoral muscle during a challenge.