Stuart Hogg was warned that he risked losing his sight if he took a further blow on the eye socket injury which has ruled him out of the remainder of the British and Irish Lions series in New Zealand.
The Scotland full-back broke down in tears when he was told his tour was over but has now accepted that it would have been foolhardy to risk trying to play again.
The Hawick hero sustained the injury during the Lions’ 12-3 win over the Crusaders on Saturday when he collided unwittingly with team-mate Conor Murray’s elbow as the Ireland scrum-half sought to let the Glasgow back launch a first-half counter attack.
Warren Gatland, the Lions head coach, revealed four specialists were consulted before Hogg was ruled out of the rest of the tour.
“It was just a freak accident,” Gatland said of the clash with Murray. “He’s absolutely gutted. We’re feeling for him.
“We saw about four different specialists: one of them said he’d be alright and another said it’s potentially serious and that he could lose his sight if he plays.
“We told him it was only a game of rugby and he understood that.”
Hogg, who was vying for a place in the Test side, admitted the news came as a huge blow.
“I am absolutely devastated to be leaving the Lions,” Hogg said. “It means everything to me to be part of this tour and when, on Monday night, I first got the news that I had suffered a facial fracture and had to come home, I cried.
“I have done several times since then, too. It is tough, really tough, to take.
“I had been prepared for the worst when I sat down with Eanna Falvey, the Lions doctor, and Bob Stewart, the physio, and they explained the results of the scan and various opinions from the specialists. Yet it still hit me incredibly hard.
“As much as I love being at home, I do not believe I am ready to go. It still has not quite sunk in yet that I am going. I feel my game has been getting better and better in New Zealand and I was a lot more confident going into the second game against the Crusaders.
“The advice, though, was that I could risk my sight if I received another bang. My eye socket is fractured and the medical advice was unanimous.”