SCOTLAND international Lewis Carmichael has been forced to retire from rugby after suffering a series of head injuries.

The Edinburgh Rugby lock has had a torrid time with injuries in recent years, with a serious knee problem sidelining him for 15 months.

Now, he has taken the decision to hang up his boots.

He said: “Unfortunately, I’ve taken the decision to retire following advice from my medical advisers having sustained a number of concussions over a short period of time.

“I’m obviously gutted I’ll no longer be playing professional rugby but I know it’s the right decision, having discussed my situation with a number of specialists and the medical teams at both Edinburgh Rugby and Scottish Rugby.”

The former North Berwick High School pupil represented Edinburgh at U17 and U18 level, as well as Scotland at U18 and U20 level, before enrolling in the Scottish Rugby Academy system.

The lock lifted the Scottish Premiership title with Melrose in 2014 before making his professional debut against Munster at Thomond Park two years later.

The 26-year-old, who also had a brief spell with Western Force in Australia, enjoyed a breakout 2017-18 campaign in head coach Richard Cockerill’s first season in charge in the Scottish Capital, which resulted in selection for Scotland’s 2018 summer tour to Canada, USA and Argentina.

He then became the 1,095th player to represent Scotland with a replacement and try-scoring debut in the national team’s 48-10 win over Canada – and gained a second cap against the USA.

Carmichael, who made 47 appearances for Edinburgh, suffered a serious knee injury during a routine training session at the beginning of 2019.

He ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL), which saw him need to learn to walk again.

Looking back on his career highlights, Carmichael added: “With Edinburgh Rugby, the breakthrough season that I had in 2017-18 was pretty special.

“I played a lot of rugby that year.

“That win over in Ulster in 2018 – which saw Duncy Weir slot a last-minute drop goal – was definitely one of my rugby highlights and then, before that, getting my first Edinburgh cap over in Munster in 2016 was pretty special too.

“I really do look back on my memories with Edinburgh with great fondness – the connections I’ve made with teammates will be friendships that I have for the rest of my days.

“It was obviously a huge honour and dream come true getting my first cap for Scotland against Canada.

“My dad was out there and saw me play, so it was just an amazing feeling and a really proud moment for my family.”

Carmichael is now working in partnership with Scottish Rugby’s player support programme – Rugby for Life – and is enrolled in a career planning course that will help the former international transition into life post-playing.

He added: “Looking ahead, I’ve not made any final decisions on what I want to do next season but, as a rugby fan, I’m really keen to stay in the sport in some capacity and do some coaching.

“There’s nothing nailed down at the moment but I’m going to take a bit of time to just relax and plan my next steps – I’m excited for that next challenge.”

Cockerill said that the club was “obviously gutted” for Carmichael.

He added: “It’s never easy to see any player step away from the game at a young age.

“He’s a good man and a player that has given a lot to Edinburgh Rugby over the years.

“He’ll be sorely missed by the coaching staff and squad, and we wish him all the very best.”