Footballer retires after beating cancer

5 February 2019, 13:55 | Updated: 5 February 2019, 13:58

joe thompson

Rochdale midfielder Joe Thompson has announced his retirement from football at the age of 29 following two battles with cancer.

Thompson has made only one appearance for Dale this season, and revealed his body had been pushed "to the limit" by his two fights against Hodgkin lymphoma.

"My decision to retire has been one of the hardest I've ever had to make," Thompson said in a statement.

"I have battled through some of life's hardest challenges and have managed to overcome them.

"However, I've pushed my body to the absolute limit. My mind has grown stronger but with the intense treatment my body has had to endure over the last six years it is no longer able to perform to the demands of the professional game."

Thompson was first diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2013 while playing for Tranmere.

He later signed for Bury and spent time on loan at Southport and Wrexham as he tried to build his match fitness following treatment.

He returned to Rochdale from Carlisle in 2016 but the disease soon returned, requiring extensive treatment.

Thompson announced he was cancer free in June 2017 and less than a year later scored the goal that kept Rochdale in League One, beating Charlton on the final day of the season.

In a lengthy statement, Thompson thanked his family, team-mates and manager Keith Hill for their support, as well as the club's fans, revealing he now plans to work in the media, as a mentor and as a motivational speaker.

"I also feel my story has the power to help others in all walks of life to overcome their own adversities and empower them to fulfil their potential," he said.