West Bromwich Albion midfielder Robert Koren has spoken for the first time of his nightmare during the freak eye injury which he feared might wreck his career.
The Slovenian International has revealed that he also feared he might permanently lose the sight in his left eye after being hit in the face by a ball during a training session.
The accident left him blind in that eye for more than five hours and he needed emergency hospital treatment as blood poured from his eye.
Now the player is back to full fitness and scored on his first full game back against Bristol City at Ashton Gate on Tuesday.
He is now chomping at the bit and hoping to star in manager Tony Mowbray's line-up for Saturday's trip to Scunthorpe United.
Koren said: "I was training really hard in pre-season to get my fitness level up when the accident happened.
"I tried a shot in training and one of the players blocked it and the ball hit me in the eye.
"The next thing my eye was bleeding and I missed three or four weeks because I had to be careful that there was no more bleeding and that the pressure in my eye did not go up.
"I am now training really hard again now and my fitness level is back up to the top now.
"I am looking forward now. My vision is okay and I hope I will have no more problems for the rest of my life."
The former Lillestrom midfielder continued: "When the accident happened I could not see out of my eye - it was dark and I could not see through the blood. For four or five hours I couldn't see anything and it was quite scary.
"I was really afraid there might be some long term problems with my vision."
Koren said he was aware of the fate which had befallen former Celtic striker Chris Sutton at Aston Villa who was forced to retire from the game due to an eye injury. Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes also had a recurring problem after an eye injury.
Koren said: "I had heard these stories before and after it happened to me I was worried. When I came into the dressing room afterwards and looked in the mirror, my eye was open but I could not see anything. It was a scary feeling but now it is all behind me and I am happy."
The midfielder added: "You know when you play football that injuries can happen. It is important that after an injury you can come back stronger and that has happened to me and I think I am more focused now and have no problem now with this injury and just want to press on now with my career."
Koren, who had been playing well in are season when the club visited his home country as part of their training tour, continued: "I was ready for the season until my injury happened - it pushed me a few weeks back but when you get that kind of injury it makes you see that life is not just football - it is important that your health is right too.
"After this happened to me I didn't really care too much about my football too much at first - I was just praying my vision would be alright.
"In the end however everything was alright and now I just want to focus on my football again."
Koren has more than made up for his lay-off, training as hard as he can and was delighted to score in his first full game back in midweek.
He said: "It was useful after the injury to have two international games for my country which gave me two 90 minute run-outs. I also had a reserve game and came on against Ipswich for 20 minutes or so.
"I always want to play for my national team and I was glad I was able to. Those games have definitely helped me get back into the games here at Albion."
Koren revealed he had developed a good friendship with his Slovenian national teammate Bostjan Cesar who has joined Albion on loan from French side Marseille.
The pair both have apartments in the same building and Koren is only too happy to help his fellow countryman adjust to life at The Hawthorns.
He said: "He is a quality player. He is a good defender and played for Marseille in the beginning in all of the games until he got injured.
"He came to West Bromwich a bit too late to train with us much in pre-season but he has been working hard and is ready to play with us now.
"He will get his turn because he is a good player and then we will see what happens. We both play for the same national team and so I know him well.
"He has shown for Marseille at the highest level what he can do. I hope for him that he gets a game in the next couple of weeks."