Ex-Down footballer Marty Clarke on Addison's Disease effect

The 29 year old has had to retire from Gaelic football

BY Raf Diallo 20:56 Thursday 2 March 2017, 20:56 2 Mar 2017

Marty Clarke ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Former Down footballer Marty Clarke says he has had to retire from the game due to the pressure on his body caused by Addison's Disease.

Clarke was diagnosed with the condition in which adrenal glands produce too little cortisol, three years ago and today announced that he has had to call time on his career.

"Unfortunately, it's been a difficult few weeks. But on the advice from medical people and sort of knowing in my own heart that with the condition I'm managing, the Addison's Disease, it's getting to the stage where it's too much pressure on my body to play at that competitive level," he said on Off The Ball.

"So I have to hang [my boots] up for competitive action so it's been a difficult couple of weeks. I've had a lot of well wishes and stuff which has certainly eased the difficult nature of it."

Symptoms of Addison's Disease can range from extreme fatigue and vomiting/nausea to weight loss.

The difficulty of managing the condition means club football is also impossible for Clarke, although some other physical activities are going to be possible like running and cycling.

"I suppose the main issue with Gaelic football was just the dynamic nature of it. One minute you're bending over to pick the ball up, the next minute you're being shouldered and the next minute you're jumping in the air. So it's that accumulation of different intense activities that for whatever reason my body can't cope with it," said the 29 year old who also played in the Australian Football League (AFL) with Collingwood.

On a day to day level he adds that "95% of the time I'm completely fine and normal but it's that dynamic nature of Gaelic - particularly as a forward if you have a really tight opponent - that seems to be when the energy levels really, really go down."

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