Telling my wife Dominica that I would never pull on the Australian jersey was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

Sharing the news to my 7s teammates was even worse.

I can now share with you all that this has been one of the most humbling weeks of my life.

Six weeks ago I was playing in a World Series. It is incredible how, in just a matter of days, everything in my life has completely changed.

It wasn’t the news I had been hoping for, but I think now there was a part of me that always felt it might be heading down this direction.

Unfortunately, with my left shoulder being the way it is, I have been advised by my surgeon that I have no other alternative but to retire from rugby, effective immediately.

Playing through pain has never been a deterrent for me.

I have always embraced the challenge of overcoming adversity and hardships – it is just not in my DNA to quit or back down from a contest.

There is extensive damage around the tendon area – with so much wear and tear, coupled with the significant arthritis around the joints, the medical staff can no longer ignore the red flags raised.

Ed Jenkins exclusive insight

As hard as this process has been, I thank my surgeons for not complicating matters nor attempting to give me empty hope.

As I had flown to Brisbane to meet with Dr. Phillip Duke, a leading shoulder specialist, in hope that he would be able to throw me a lifeline.

But after assessing my injury in full, it didn’t take him long to throw down the hammer on my career.

He spelled it out by saying “If you want to be able to enjoy the rest of your life, and have some quality with it, I am advising you to never play again.”

It doesn’t get more black and white than that.

So it is what it is.

It was a bitter pill to swallow, and while I had prepared for the worst and hoped for the best, it’s not until you hear those finite words can you truly comprehend the magnitude of the situation.

What hit me hardest was that he said I could never play rugby again – ever.

Not unless I’m interested in having a shoulder replacement before my 40th birthday according to Dr. Duke.

So while it means I will never be able to play in a weekend social competition alongside my family and friends, it also means the door is shut on the possibility of playing in a few world invitational tournaments, as I had initially planned once the time came to hang up the boots.

So with that news, I headed back to Brisbane Airport on route to Sydney to break the news to my wife Dominica.

For what is only supposed to be a 90 minute flight felt like several hours.

As I sat on the plane, I had a lot of time to reflect on everything the Dr had said, as well as everything else that was to come.

It was in the air when it all really sank in that I would never get another opportunity to put on an Australian jersey – which in all, is what I am most disappointed in.I never took that privilege for granted and made sure my teammates around me didn’t either.

There is simply no greater honour than doing your country proud, in a sport you give your absolute heart too.

As heartbreaking as it all is right now, with the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games or Rugby 7s World Cup now off the table, I have equally taken the time to reflect on how lucky I have been to be able to forge a successful career in the sport.

I can leave this game knowing rugby has shaped me, and ultimately made me a better man. I’m grateful for all the friendships I’ve forged throughout the years and know the camaraderie and mateship will be hard to replicate in my next chapter.

I’m appreciative of what I’ve achieved throughout my career, and can only hope that my legacy will be remembered for many years to come.

Ed Jenkins

I am hopeful I can turn my current circumstance into a positive transition from the 7s program, as I can now use 2018 as a real opportunity to map what I want to do next.

Since being told the news, I have been asked a lot by family and friends in recent days, whether I feel an emptiness in my heart knowing I never will be able to dust off the boots and go for a run.

But to be honest, when the surgeon makes that decision for you, it does make it easier.

I know a lot of former teammates who have struggled with the decision to give the game up, and although I was definitely nearing the end of my career, I did feel I had a few more good years left in me.

Two of Australia’s leading surgeons made me see reason though.

So while I am upset I won’t get to go out on my own terms and call it a day, I take immense pride knowing the doors of opportunity that I have helped pave for the next generation of 7s hopefuls.

7s rugby has taken such strong strides and while I am not saying the program is perfect by any means as there is still so much that can be done to improve the sport. The growth has been enormous since I first started my journey some ten years ago.

On a personal note, there hasn’t been a player that has stuck it out as long as I have. To start my professional athletic career in 7s, and finish in 7s, is something I will always look back on fondly.

How would I like to be remembered though? I think as someone who never did anything half-hearted. I was always fully committed to growing 7s both on and off the field, and I would love to see more junior rugby players see 7s as a formidable career choice, knowing what I was able to do through the sport.

As much as I would love to see more established 15s players attempt to make the change to 7s, I think with the way the game is going globally, more specific 7s players will be required as the dynamic difference between the two formats are becoming greater and greater each year.

Hopefully I have encouraged a few of the younger guys coming through the junior ranks that 7s is worth aspiring towards.

On the training track, I know that I never took a short-cut and would like to think I helped play a role in lifting and maintaining our off-field standards.

Being a competitive person by nature, I know that always helped me along the way. I never wanted to lose a contest, no matter how big or small my opponent might have been.

It was an attitude and a mantra I looked to instil in everyone else in the locker room.

I can honestly say that when I look back on my career, I don’t have any regrets nor would I do things any differently to how I went about my business.

If I was entering the sport in 2018 though, my advice to myself would be simple.

Talent can only get you so far, so don’t be holding back from putting in the hard yards.

Because I was never the most talented athlete on my team, but I never allowed myself to think anyone else was more competitive than me.

Every day I rocked up to training, turning in nothing but maximum effort as I was hell bent on getting the most out of my body.

I guess in the end, I simply pushed it to the brink one too many times, which is why I am in the position I am now.

But I wouldn’t have done it any other way and there is nothing I would change.

It was an amazing journey and as they say, all good things must come to an end.

This is not goodbye.

It is however a thank-you to all you amazing rugby, sport fans and everyday Australians who supported my dreams throughout all these years.

You’re the reason I was always able to find an extra gear, in those moments when I felt I had nothing more to give.

You made playing football fun and I would always think of you before, during and after every game.

Please know I gave absolutely everything I could for you, but the time has now come for me to give to my family and friends, who have so unselfishly sacrificed for me over the years.

It’s their time now.

Ed Jenkins

Ed Jenkins is a retired Australian rugby sevens player, considered one of the sport's modern day greats.

He is the most capped Australian rugbys sevens player of all time.

Ed helped end Australia’s eight-year title drought on the world circuit at the London Sevens in 2010, playing a key role in Australia's first tournament win since 2002.