Inverness-born back-row Bruce Flockhart has left Glasgow Warriors to pursue new opportunities away from rugby.
The 23-year-old had been supported by his club and Scottish Rugby through a period of ill health over the past year which has led to his decision to step away from the game.
Flockhart, who attended Culloden Academy and played for Highland up to under-18 level, has been associated with Warriors since signing his first professional contract in 2018.
The former Scotland under-20 international had previously been a Scotland Rugby Academy player, during which time he played for Glasgow Hawks.
📰 | Back-row Bruce Flockhart has left Glasgow Warriors to pursue new opportunities away from rugby after a period of ill health.
The club and Scottish Rugby have supported him during this time, and he leaves with the club’s best wishes.https://t.co/FMZVsgrWju
— Glasgow Warriors (@GlasgowWarriors) July 23, 2021
Following his decision to step down, Flockhart told Glasgow Warriors’ club website: “I’m very grateful to have spent four years with Glasgow. My journey has had ups and downs, but all in all I leave with great memories.
“Glasgow Warriors are a very special team to be a part of.
“Frustratingly for me, countless injuries that started with my back in 2015 – prior to joining Glasgow – mean that it hasn’t always been plain sailing.
“Naturally, something like this takes its toll on a person mentally, which it has with me.
“I owe a lot to Dave Rennie, who would pull me aside for chats checking that I was coping OK.
“In the beginning, I didn’t want to admit that I was struggling because I viewed it as a sign of weakness, and I didn’t want it to count against me for selection.
“The day that I finally admitted that I wasn’t coping, he told me something that helped me a lot.
“He said, ‘Mental health problems are like injuries so treat them as such. You get injured, you get the professional help from a physio to rehab the injury back to full strength.
“You have a mental health issue, you see a psychologist and rehab it back to full strength’.
“Around that time, he had a psychologist come into Scotstoun – rather than out-with – because he wanted to show that it shouldn’t be something that you have to hide and feel ashamed about. I thought that was great.
“The support that I have received from everyone within Scottish Rugby has far exceeded anything that I would have expected.
“I can’t stress how grateful I am. The boys have been great too, with many of them sharing their own personal stories with me and what has helped them.
“This decision is about taking care of my mind and my body and exploring my options beyond rugby.
“From the experience that I have gained through my struggles, I now realise how important it is to be mentally flexible and to not put such heavy pressure on myself again.
“I’m taking each day as it comes, and I have ideas of what I want to do and will feel around those before I fully commit to my next hill climb.
“Most importantly, thank you to my girlfriend Jessica, and my family for all their support.”
Glasgow Warriors managing director Al Kellock said: “Bruce has been a valued member of the Glasgow Warriors squad since arriving in 2018 and the club, players and staff wish him all the very best for the future.
“Sharing why he has decided to step away from the game has taken courage and most importantly I am glad he leaves in good health.
“We look forward to inviting Bruce back to Scotstoun, along with our other leavers, once the pandemic allows.”