My parents couldn't watch me play rugby any more
OLLY Morgan realised the full extent of his family's sacrifice the day his parents could no longer face watching Gloucester's matches live.
The fearless full-back has suffered more than his fair share of injuries over the years – and the multiple knee ligament tear he sustained on January 7, 2012, has since ended his career.
Despite a number of operations and 21 months of fighting against it, the 27-year-old has had to admit defeat and retire well ahead of time.
The two-cap England man admitted he cannot bear to pull himself away from Kingsholm, so will stay on in Nigel Davies' backroom staff.
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The 131-game Cherry and Whites stalwart fought hard to make light of each debilitating injury – but only appreciated the full toll when his parents started struggling to cope.
"It got to the stage where my parents couldn't watch games live," conceded the former Millfield School pupil.
Discovering he needed another knee operation a week before his wedding, he knew he was heaping up the pressure on bride-to-be Katie.
His wife is now 18 weeks' pregnant, and with the rigours of Premiership rugby no longer a worry, Morgan is excited to start a family of his own.
He continued: "My parents would record the game, phone me after the game to make sure I got through all right before watching it back.
"And that made me think what it does to other people. My family know how hard I've worked, they've been there day-in, day-out.
"And I can't thank them enough for their support.
"The fact I phoned my wife a week before our wedding to say I had to have another operation, it's tough. She's now 18 weeks' pregnant, so we've got so much to look forward to.
"And without my family and my wife, I don't know where I would be.
"I just couldn't thank them enough, those people close to me, for what they've given, that support has been amazing.
"But when you see how it affects them, when you realise it, it's quite sobering, to be honest.
"Dealing with injuries the way I have, it has really built my mental strength, but it's also given me a great deal of perspective – and I am determined to carry that forward into the future for both me and my family."
Morgan will never forget scoring a try on his full Gloucester debut, in a 14-13 Saracens defeat at Kingsholm on Saturday, April 30, 2005.
Lifting the LV=Cup in 2011 under Luke Narraway's stewardship will also rank highly – as will the atmosphere of the April 2008 Heineken Cup quarter-final Kingsholm defeat to Munster.
Admitting not even retirement can drag him away from Kingsholm, Morgan is excited to take up a role in Gloucester's coaching staff – and start an Open University degree.
He added: "Scoring on my debut was an amazing feeling, and that Munster quarter-final, that was incredible.
"Even though we lost, it was an atmosphere like nothing else we'd experienced before.
"And winning the LV=Cup, that was something we achieved with a group of players who had been at the club for a long time, and that I particularly relished managing to pull off.
"This club is special, there's no other like it in the world."