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'I thought if people knew I had inflammatory bowel disease that my rugby career would be over'

Munster player John Ryan was in pre-season training on his first professional contract when he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. He tells Emily Hourican about his experience of living with the condition

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John Ryan hasn’t allowed the debilitating condition to limit his rugby ambitions

John Ryan hasn’t allowed the debilitating condition to limit his rugby ambitions

John Ryan hasn’t allowed the debilitating condition to limit his rugby ambitions

Rugby player John Ryan had just got his first professional contract with Munster, during his final year at University College Cork, when he began having distressing symptoms including stomach cramping, pain, and passing blood.

Ulcerative colitis, along with Crohn's disease, make up what's known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a condition characterised by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (not to be confused with IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, although it is possible to have both). It is a chronic condition, usually involving periods of remission and periods of flare-ups.