It was always going to take something dramatic for Luke Robinson to quit playing the game he loves.
And it doesn’t come much more dramatic than being told that if he didn’t undergo major hip surgery in the next few months and carried on playing for the Giants, he risked never walking again.
When he was presented with the stark reality, it didn’t come as that great a surprise to him, to be honest. In fact, he was half expecting it.
That has helped soften some of the blow of having to call it a day at the age of just 31.
But the former England hooker or half-back still knows there’s going to be a huge void in his life.
Right now, he doesn’t know what the professional future holds for him – instead he’s devoting all of his time preparing for the operation that will guarantee he keeps his mobility.
Only after that will he take full stock of his dramatic change in circumstances.
“When your surgeon tells you if you carry on playing and you don’t have hip surgery in the next couple of months I might not be walking by next year, it’s a real no-brainer,” said Robinson, who also has wife Laura and sons Leo (four), Blake (three) and Keane (one) to think about in the future.
“Rugby league has given me a good living and I’ve been able to provide for my family.
“But it’s true that you’d always be willing to swap health for wealth. It’s a saying that definitely rings true for me.
“The thought of not being able to play a full part in bringing up my kids – something I’d struggle to do in the future if I kept on playing and ended up being unable to walk – is something I couldn’t bear. I’m already struggling to play properly with them because of my injuries, and I don’t enjoy that at all.
“To be honest, that’s just one of the problems I face away from the rugby pitch because of my injuries.
“Since the 2012 season I’ve had loads of problems with my hip and my back, and even major cortisone injections last season weren’t helping to take the pain away. There were a number of times I shouldn’t have played, but I played through the pain to help the cause.
“I’m now at the stage where I struggle to sleep at night and Laura has to help tie my shoes. That’s no good for anyone.
“What I’m going to do in the future, who knows?
“All I can think about right now is having the surgery and taking things from there.”
It’s probably going to be a few months before Robinson undergoes the surgery, so in the meantime he’s continuing to spend a lot of time at the club – and he intends to make himself useful.
“The club have been fantastic with me, and I’m doing my prehab before the surgery there,” added the former Wigan and Salford player who hails from Halifax.
“And, at the same time, I’m helping mentor some of the younger boys in the squad.
“I’ve been doing that with Kruise Leeming for a couple of years now, and he and the others know I’ll be there to pass on the little tips and pointers if they need them.
“I’ve had a fantastic eight years here – we’ve won the Super League Leaders Shield in 2013 and reached the 2009 Challenge Cup final at Wembley – and I think everyone knows how much I’d love to support the club in the future.”
LUKE'S CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
2001 - I was vice-captain when England Under 18s became the first England team to beat the Australian Schoolboys in 30 years.
2003 - I was playing for Wigan at the time and scord a hat trick in a derby triumph over St Helens.
2003 - That year was rounded off by an appearance for the Warriors in the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford, although we were beaten by Bradford Bulls.
2008 - Although I had a couple of good years at Salford Red Devils, we were unable to achieve any notable progress, and I remember how delighted I was to sign for the Giants, particularly as they were just down the road from my Halifax home.
2009 - Beating a great St Helens side at the Halliwell Jones Stadium to reach the Challenge Cup final at Wembley was an amazing feeling.
2010 - I fulfilled my boyhood dream and played for England in the Three Nations in Australia and New Zealand. Scoring try under the sticks against the Aussies will always be a very special memory.
2011 - I was man-of-the-match for England in the mid-season game against the Exiles. It was one of six England appearances in my career. I was also named Giants Player of the Years and Players’ Player of the Year that season, as well.
2013 - Lifting the Super League Leaders Shield with the Giants filled me with real pride.