Luke Brattan is grateful he's taking his place in Melbourne City's FFA Cup team on Wednesday night and not watching on from a treatment table.
For 45 minutes earlier this month, the combative midfielder's career was on the line.
Brattan was felled by an innocuous challenge by ex-City teammate Stefan Mauk in their Cup win over Brisbane Roar.
He lay on the Dolphin Stadium pitch for what seemed like an eternity, waiting for an ambulance.
"There was a bit of pain but tingling in my fingers. I thought the worst," Brattan told AAP.
The absence of a spinal board meant a near 45-minute delay before he was taken to hospital in an ambulance and given the all-clear.
"I could have been off in five or 10 minutes if they had the right stretcher," he said.
"It was serious but it wasn't as serious as it looked. It was a bit scary for them and I got frustrated.
"Overall I'm a bit of an idiot because I tried to tackle my head ... I was falling over and tried to head the ball, (Mauk) went for it as well and he got me."
While Brattan was in hospital, City triumphed 1-0 to progress to a round of 16 clash with Newcastle Jets which will be played at AAMI Park on Wednesday night.
Bruno Fornaroli's thunderbolt deep in injury time settled the contest and provided City with a fine reminder of his qualities.
The Uruguayan was kept from his best last season after a serious ankle injury sustained on away duty in the FFA Cup.
His goals will be crucial for City given the departure of several key players - led by starlet Daniel Arzani.
Nine senior players have left the club with only five coming in to date.
The turnover means Wednesday night's match isn't being seen as a revenge mission by City, despite the Jets turfing them out of the finals last season.
"It's still upsetting we went out that way and we still feel it," Brattan said.
"But we're not going to use that emotion in the game.
"That was the only time last season they beat us so we know how to beat them. We'll go in in a clear mind and game plan."
A FFA spokesperson said the lack of spinal board - listed as a mandatory match-day item - prompted a review into the provision of ambulance services.
Australian Associated Press