On Tuesday, Australian Owen Wright announced he is officially withdrawing from the remainder of the 2016 Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour in order to focus entirely on his rehabilitation efforts for the head injury he suffered last December in the lead up to the Pipeline Masters.
"It's always difficult being away from the water for me," Wright said. "It's also a major challenge to give myself time to heal because I want to be back in the singlet so badly. That said, I understand that I have more rehabilitation ahead of me until that's possible. I'm feeling better every day and I want to thank everyone for the support so far. I miss my friends and family on tour and I'm looking forward to seeing them all again soon. Thanks again for the support."
The big, powerful goofyfooter was in contention for the WSL Title at the end of 2015, but was forced to pull out of the Billabong Pipe Masters after being hammered by a set of waves during a warmup session on December 10. Wright made it to shore unassisted, but was spotted walking up the beach looking a bit disoriented. When he arrived home he began complaining of headaches. He was rushed to the hospital where they discovered that he suffered serious head trauma during the beat down.
Withdrawing from both the event and the title race, Wright remained under medical observation in Hawaii before traveling back to Australia to receive ongoing treatment.
Prior to the start of the 2016 season, the Australian announced his withdrawal from the opening half of the year. While having made considerable progress in his rehabilitation, Wright has chosen to continue his road to recovery throughout the rest of the year before returning to the elite level of competition.
"Owen is one of the most impressive athletes to ever grace our sport and the WSL fully supports him taking the time he needs to return to 100 percent," WSL Commissioner Kieren Perrow said. "He's been sorely missed on tour this year, but I know that he's in all our thoughts and we all look forward to seeing him healthy again and sharing the lineup with us."