Ryan Mason has been called an inspiration by Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech and Hull manager Nigel Adkins after the midfielder was forced to call time on his career.
The 26-year-old suffered a fractured skull 13 months ago during an accidental clash of heads with Chelsea defender Gary Cahill.
Hull’s club-record signing had hoped to return to action but, after expert medical advice, announced his retirement on Tuesday.
Cech suffered a serious head injury of his own when playing for Chelsea in 2006 and spoke regularly with the midfielder during the recovery process.
“Yesterday was a sad day for one incredible young man .@RyanMason,” the Arsenal goalkeeper tweeted.
“Although his story didn’t finish with ultimate happy ending, his determination, attitude and bravery he’s shown during his recovery is something to be admired and an inspiration for others! All the best Ryan.”
Hull manager Adkins echoed those sentiments when previewing Friday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie at Stamford Bridge, where, coincidentally, Mason played his last match.
“He addressed the players yesterday morning, said his goodbyes to everybody,” the City boss said.
“But he’s made everyone realise that there’s opportunities and you’ve got to grasp every single one of them as long as you can because you never know when they’re not going to be there.
“Obviously it’s a horrendous injury that he’s got, and he’s done, and the medical people have done everything they possibly can to give him the opportunity to continue playing.
“Now, at some stage there has to be a decision made. And I think Ryan has explored everything he can.
“You see him on the training ground, he’s done everything.
“He’s really worked so hard to do everything he can, and I think from his own peace of mind, he knows he’s done everything he can, so he can look forward to the future with a positivity that he can afford to enjoy.”
Adkins confirmed Mason has now cut ties with Hull, moving out of his accommodation in the area and “back down south with his family”.
Asked about the possibility of Mason staying on at Hull in a coaching role, Adkins added: “That’s all sorted down at the Tottenham side of things.
“He has a good relationship with the guys down there and I spoke with Ryan and he made me aware that was potentially something he was going to do.”
Hull forward Jarrod Bowen was watching from the bench last January when Mason was injured and expressed sympathy on behalf of the squad.
“It was gutting,” he said. “We’ve all been waiting (for news). You’ve got to put your life first. I think we’re all more gutted for him. I’m sure he’ll be around to see us again.”