It has been difficult over the last few months writing these columns and trying to talk positively about the Dragons and how we all hope they are really now on the right path.

That’s because it’s been since Christmas that I knew for sure that my time was up and it wasn’t a journey I could go on with the region.

Most of you reading this will know of my complicated history with head injuries, but it seems that I pushed my luck as far as it would go.

As a result of MRI scans on the brain and expert advice from neurologists, I had to step down and figure on what to do next. Unfortunately, as well as writing off my rugby career, it’s also put stop to any hope I had of a flying career.

So... Plan C takes effect.

Sadly, I found that every knock I took just lowered my threshold to withstanding big collisions. Put these together over the years and it was almost every tackle that I came out of feeling second hand.

This doesn’t do the team or myself any justice, notwithstanding the medical issues on top.

South Wales Argus:

I’ve been vocal to anyone who’s asked me about the potential for head injuries in the game now. All players becoming heavier is one thing, but they are also getting a lot stronger and more explosive. A strength and conditioning team’s success is a medical team’s nightmare.

To be fair I don’t think there’s much else World Rugby can do to prevent further problems and rugby is on the front lines when it comes to tackling concussion.

I’ve only got huge praise for the clubs I’ve played for in my career. Every bit of help and patience I’ve required has been given, and I know this to be the case for anyone else who has suffered the same type of injury.

Now that technology is evolving we are starting to see deeper into what concussion actually is and the help of state-of-the-art scanners can stop people like myself going that one game too far.

It’s going to be strange walking into Rodney Parade next season and for the first time in 12 years not have an association with the club, whether that be academy or senior squad.

One of the proudest achievements during my career was receiving my cap for 100 starts for the Dragons (we must be the only club In the world that did starts not appearances!).

From an over-energized kid kicking the ball around on the cabbage patch to achieving that meant an awful lot. No doubt there’s another youngster doing exactly the same on the cabbage patch this season that we will see in years to come.

Growing up during the glory years of Newport RFC and the early successes of the Dragons I was always very frustrated that we never achieved as a rugby region what should have over the past 15 years.

There are many reasons for this but, as I’m writing a column and not a book, we won’t be able to discuss those now.

Even though it has been frustrating overall, we have had some great memorable moments as fans and players over the years.

Games such as Gloucester and Montpellier in Europe stick out especially. It’s credit to all the supporters who travelled in such large numbers and in good voice (when we gave you reason to shout) that still gives so much hope for the future.

Rugby is absolutely full of characters, from one extreme to the other, and it’s some of these that I will miss the most.

I have made lifelong friends from all over the rugby globe and had the privilege of playing with and against some of the best players this game has to offer.

It is also interesting to see how different all the coaches are in the game. One season I went from Rob Baxter to Lyn Jones.

Both are very good coaches, but have an extremely different approach to coaching. That took some getting used to, but you can learn so much from every coach you work with.

Professional sport is a yo-yo type of career, with ups and downs on an almost weekly basis but what you find is that the up will always outweigh the down.

Six months out inured is quickly forgotten when you return to score a match-winning try in front of your home support. It’s these reasons why you see players pushing themselves to the limits, especially when injured, to return as soon as they can.

South Wales Argus:

It’s the buzz of running out to a full stadium that just can’t be replicated in any other profession.

I won’t even start listing names of people I would like to thank for helping me during my career, as the list is embarrassingly long and the Argus would rightly start charging me for their ink.

But while I have a platform like this available to me, I would like to thank everyone as one for their support over the years. I will take away some incredible memories for the rest of my life and can leave the game with no regrets.

I do sometimes get frustrated when I think that I have to leave the game at 28, an age that should be the peak of my career.

Then you have to flip the coin and realise I’m the lucky one who is stepping out at the right time and with plenty to look forward to after the season comes to an end.

It hasn’t come easy and I’ve had to work hard for the options I have available to me, but it’s thanks to people like the Welsh Rugby Players Association, who have made it possible.

Becoming a financial adviser came naturally to me, as it’s something both my parents have done, and a subject I’ve always had a big interest in so I look forward to working with Niche IFA and will continue to support the region alongside them.

I hope you all enjoy the day out at the Principality Stadium next week and I look forward to standing on the other side of the fence with you from next season onwards.