Nortje’s rugby career cut short due to medical reasons
Welwitschias and National Mens 15’s hooker Obert Nortje has explained his decision to “step away” from rugby due to a medical condition.
Nortje, 25, has made 23 appearances for Namibia including the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, since his debut against Senegal in 2017 (Africa Cup). Nortje is part of the contracted players which the Namibia Rugby Union announced at a press conference in Windhoek on Tuesday 28 March 2023, however, his career has thus far been hampered by a medical condition, and having to miss numerous games due to health concerns.
“Sadly, I have decided to step away from rugby and contact sports completely due to a diagnosed health condition. I need to take my health, future, and quality of life into consideration. This has been one of the toughest decisions I ever had to make, but I need to look after myself and I look forward to new opportunities and challenges which I can engage in despite my condition,” Nortje said.
CEO of the Namibia Rugby Union, John Heynes responded to Nortje’s decision by telling Nortje “We trust that you will still succeed in whatever you take on from here. It is a real shame to lose you as you are such a talented player and we have hoped to have you on our team for many more years. You are no isolated case and as with many sportsmen or women we respect and admire your decision to put your health first”.
Nortje further expressed that this has not been an easy decision and took a lot of thinking to prepare for a life after rugby.
“It is not easy to say goodbye to teammates who are like my family, it’s very emotional to have to part from them. I thank my teammates, management staff, and the union for everything they’ve done for my career”.
Director of Rugby and National Head Coach Allister Coetzee admitted to being saddened to lose Nortje.
“It never becomes easy to see any player have to retire at such a young age, especially for such reasons. I was very shocked to receive the news about his condition and believe this is a very hard decision he had to make because I know how much effort he puts in, have seen him grow and he is so passionate about the game. He has been a real asset and I am forever thankful for his contribution to the team and wish him all the best in his future endeavors”.