Hibernian midfielder Scott Allan has revealed he feared he would be forced to retire at just 29 after being diagnosed with a heart condition.
The Leith ace – who is also diabetic – missed five months of action this season after doctors told him he was suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
He has now been given the all-clear to resume playing by experts but the former Dundee United and Celtic playmaker admits there was a point when he worried he would have to hang up his boots.
“I’m back on the football pitch so I think now is a good time, so I’m feeling well within myself to speak about what I went through,” he told HibsTV.
“I was diagnosed with a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is where the walls of the heart chamber become slightly thicker and it makes it harder to pump blood in and out of the heart.
“I was feeling fatigue with less oxygen getting through my body. I was getting dizzy spells too. I was fatiguing really quick when I was playing
The way I was feeling before I had the test with what I could give on a football pitch physically was really worrying.”
Allan finally made his return to action in last month’s Betfred Cup semi-final defeat to St Johnstone.
He was also given a late run out against Rangers a few days later but admits it will take some time for him to rediscover his top fitness levels after his lengthy lay-off.
The Easter Road favourite said: “I’m definitely not back at 100 per cent as I’ve not even been able to get a bounce game.
“But in terms of training fitness and general fitness outside of football, it is the best I’ve felt.
“I won’t be 100 per cent until I’ve had games under my belt. Hopefully that comes soon, if not I’ll get a pre-season under my belt and go from there and hope to be better than I was last year.
“I want to enjoy (my career) as much as I can. Sometimes you can take it for granted but now I just want to enjoy every moment of it, whether it be training, out there at Easter Road or even just being around my team-mates in the changing room.
“I just want to make the most of it. I know it sounds quite cliched but that’s as true as it gets for me.”
And Allan has revealed how the dream of having young son Zac watch him in action was the driving force which fuelled his determination to resume playing.
He said: “When you’ve already lived your life with type-1 diabetes from such an early age, the thing I always had in the back of my mind if anything was going to cause me problems, then it would be that.
“So to be diagnosed with something else while you’re still in your prime and in a season I was really looking forward to stamping my authority on the football park, on the human side it was a really difficult time in terms of telling your family and the people around you.
“But when you’ve got these type of people close to you it kind of spurs you on.
“I’ve got a young son who I always wanted to come and watch me play football and that was the hard part.
“That was a real motivation for me to get back on the park.”