Hull FC: 'Great memories' of Mike Burnett as he retires at 24
MIKE Burnett says his short Super League career gave him many treasured memories, despite having to retire aged just 24.
And he says just pulling on a Hull FC shirt in Super League is something he will always be proud of.
Doctors have advised Burnett to retire as a long-standing back injury has made it difficult for him to even go about his daily business away from sport.
Burnett admits it was tough to walk away from the sport so early, but says coming through the Hull academy system, and going all the way to the first team, will stay with him forever.
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"I've loved every minute of it, the highlights for me have been to just even make it as a Super League player," Burnett said.
"It's tough to get there and just to make it was an achievement I can be proud of.
"I've made some great friends while playing for Hull FC and I'll be keeping in touch with them.
"Danny Houghton is somebody I've played with since I was 12. We came through the ranks together so it's great to see him doing so well at the club."
Burnett selects his home debut, a victory over Wigan in 2009, as his highlight, and says the feeling of playing in front of Hull's fans was always special.
"Looking back at my career, a game that stands out for me was when I made my first start for Hull FC," he added.
"It came in the first game of the 2009 season at home to Wigan and we managed to pick up the win that day which was a bonus.
"I'll never forget that feeling of running out in front of almost 15,000 fans at the KC Stadium on a Friday night, it's something that will stay with me forever."
Burnett says coming to terms with his career ending has been hard, but failing to recover from two prolapsed discs in his lower back, it was a decision he knew he had to take,
"I spoke to the specialist last week and he told me that's it. It's not nice to hear that sort of news, it's gutting, but it's part of the game we play, it could happen to anyone," he said.
"It's been a really tough year for me and I've had three operations in nine months.
"It's a slow process with having to speak to so many specialists. The injury's really interfering with my everyday life and I'm struggling to do normal things let alone start any rehab.
"It's pretty bad at the moment, but I'm staying in close contact with the medical staff at Hull FC and hopefully over the next year or so I'll start to see some signs of improvement."
Burnett made 37 appearances in his career at the Black and Whites, scoring four tries, while he also bagged a try while making 21 Super League and Challenge Cup appearances for Harlequins last season.