Promising under-20s prop James Iodice admits he was shattered when told by a specialist he recommended he not just give away rugby league but play no more contact sport.
The burly front-rower, who turned 20 in January, had little choice but to retire from the game but says he feels fortunate to have achieved what he has and he plans to attend all the Titans’ games this season and retain an active interest in his mates’ season.
The Montreal-born James attained his real estate licence, with assistance from the NRL under the National Youth Competition’s education assistance program, and is now looking for employment in the industry on the Gold Coast so he can pursue his other great interest.
His shoulder kept relocating both forward and backwards since the round one clash against Wests Tigers
“The surgeon basically said I should consider not playing anymore as I could suffer permanent damage and was likely to keep popping out,” he said.
“I was shattered obviously. I didn’t know what to feel and the realisation didn’t hit until the team was picked the next week and I wasn’t in it, but I’ve accepted it now.”
Iodice has had a terrible run with injury in the past four years: a knee reconstruction and two shoulder reconstructions and my media ligament in the knee too, so it has been tough at times.”
However, he had the opportunity to last year represent his native Canada in a rugby sevens tournament at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and to play several times at Cbus Super Stadium.
“Rugby league has made me who I am and I wouldn’t take back a minute even with the injuries,” he said. “I have really enjoyed what I have done. I wished it could have lasted but I’m satisfied with what I achieved in my short career.”
Titans NYC coach Ben Woolf said the whole squad felt for James who was a popular member of the side but he understood it was the right decision for him to make.
“James is a big loss to our squad,” said Woolf. “He’s had a terrible run with injury but kept his enthusiasm but the shoulder kept popping and James had to make a tough decision, which we support.
“Other than being a talented footballer he’s quality young bloke and he’ll apply himself to whatever he does. He wants to pursue a career in real estate and it’s good he already did his training there so hopefully he will pick up a job soon and get his teeth into that. We’re helping him where we can.
“I really wish him well.”