In horribly sad news, Gloucester lock Ed Slater has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) following months of testing.
The 33-year-old has not played rugby since January, and due to his now diagnosed condition has decided to hang up his boots for good.
Slater has made 78 appearances for Gloucester since 2017 and has been an incredibly highly regarded player and professional.
Prior to his time with the cherry and whites, Slater started his career off in the Eastern Suburbs of Australia, before travelling back across the globe to play for Nottingham in the English Championship. It was from here that Slater took the opportunity to move on up to the Premiership with Leicester Tigers, even going on to win the league in the 2012-2013 season.
Slater achieved international honours with the England Saxons, most notably beating the Crusaders in New Zealand back in 2014.
Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is an uncommon condition that affects the brain and nerves. It causes weakness that gets worse over time.
There’s no cure for MND, but there are treatments to help reduce the impact it has on a person’s daily life. Some people live with the condition for many years.
Ed has come out on Twitter within the past hour to express his gratitude and let all know that hope is not lost:
I want to say Thank You to everyone for all your messages of support and generosity. It gives me and my family a huge amount of strength in a time of sadness for us. I will meet this challenge head on. Ultimately I can’t win but I will fight with everything. Hope is not lost.
— Ed Slater (@edslater) July 22, 2022
The rugby community has come together in support for Ed Slater in this difficult time. A statement from Gloucester Rugby Club 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.
“Neither the Club nor the Slater family will be making any further comment at this time and kindly request that those wishes be respected.”
Fellow players and staff have come out on Twitter to detail their support and love for Ed as well:
Please support Ed in any way you can. Top man, with a wonderful family! ❤️ https://t.co/GFCyReqfiz
— Danny Cipriani (@DannyCipriani87) July 21, 2022
With you and the family every step of the way @edslater ❤️ https://t.co/QsZ984V2P9
— Freddie Burns (@FreddieBurns) July 21, 2022
To find out more about the condition, please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/motor-neurone-disease/