WIDNES Vaikings forward Eamon O'Carroll says he has decided to hang up his boots for the benefit of his future health and family life.

The 30-year-old's announcement comes after sustaining a nerve injury in Widnes Vikings' recent fixture against Wakefield Trinity.

"I’m grateful to Widnes Vikings, who explored every opportunity to help me through the injury challenges that I have faced and have been of great support," he said.

"I know that this is the right time for me to step away, so I can enjoy a healthy and happy future with my family.

"Rugby League has been my life and I plan to stay within the game. I am genuinely excited for this next chapter of my career.”

The forward, 30, represented Wigan Warriors, Hull FC and Widnes Vikings in 149 Super League games, in a professional career that begun in 2005.

He also earned six international caps for Ireland, playing in two Rugby League World Cup tournaments.

“Whilst I’m saddened that my career as a Rugby League player has had to come to an end, I’m also very grateful to have had the opportunity to live my dreams on the field," he said.

"I’m very proud to have represented three great clubs in Wigan Warriors, Hull FC and Widnes Vikings, as well as my country too.

"I’d like to thank Waterhead Warriors ARLFC, who first introduced me to the game that I love, as well as the coaches, players, staff and supporters of every club that I have been part of.

"I leave the sport with some special friendships and memories, and I know that my experiences as a player have helped made me be the person that I am today."

Vikings head coach Denis Betts said: “It is always sad when injury ends the career of a player of Eamon’s calibre.

"He has always been 100 per cent committed to the game and pushed his body to the limits for the sport.

"Unfortunately, he has had to recognise that it is time to hang his boots up and move on to the next phase of his life.

"I am pleased that Eamon wants to continue to pursue a career in Rugby League, because he loves the sport and has a lot to offer it.

"On behalf of Widnes Vikings, I’d like to wish him well and thank him for his contribution to the club.”

James Rule, Vikings' chief executive, said: “I’ve worked with Eamon in my capacity as CEO of both Hull FC and Widnes Vikings.

"Throughout that time, Eamon has been consistent in the professionalism and energy that he brought to both his on-field and off-field responsibilities.

"It has been a pleasure to work with him and on behalf of everyone at Widnes Vikings, I wish him the best of luck in retirement and for the next chapter of his career.”