The long road back for Barnsley's Iain Hume
Tucked away inside a large drawer in Iain Hume's bedroom is a selection of the thousands of cards and letters that he was sent last year as he recovered from surgery on a fractured skull.
"They really helped. They made me realise that people actually cared about me as a human being," the Barnsley striker told me.
"It wasn't just someone going down the pub and asking their mates whether they saw television pictures of me getting injured."
There is little doubt that plenty of people did discuss the incident that took place at Oakwell on 8 November last year. Replays of it were shown over and over again on television.
Sheffield United defender Chris Morgan had caught Hume with an elbow as a long ball came over the top. The Tykes striker went down in a heap and was subsequently substituted but was well enough to go home after the match.
The following day, however, Hume says he was talking gibberish. Not that he remembers - the day has been pieced together for him by his wife and father-in-law. He was taken to hospital by his wife and within hours had undergone major emergency surgery. Hume remarked a few weeks afterwards that he could have died and he has an 18-inch scar as a permanent reminder of what happened to him.
The incident remains extremely controversial - specifically the issue of intent. Morgan was booked but the Football Association opted against taking further action. Blades boss Kevin Blackwell quickly launched a defence of his skipper's character. A civil case means that Hume cannot talk directly about Morgan.
It will be a year on Sunday since the incident took place and in one of those quirks of the fixture calendar Barnsley play Sheffield United in a televised match the following day.
"It is a big game on TV and I want to show that a lot has changed over the past year and that I am back playing to the level that I was," Hume told me.
In other words, for the 26-year-old the game is just another of the hurdles he has had to negotiate on his road to recovery.
Hume might be a softly-spoken individual but what is clear from discussing the past 12 months with the Scottish-born Canada international is that there has never been any doubt in his mind that he would return to playing.
"Some people said that they did not know whether I would ever be back - that might have driven me on a bit harder," said Hume.
The first few months after the operation were extremely tedious for Hume. He listened to the surgeon's instructions and basically did nothing.
"I was told that for the first six weeks I had to take it very easy - ensure that I did not raise the blood pressure," added Hume.
"For a professional sportsman that was a hard thing to do. After the first couple of weeks I was able to take my daughter to school with my wife. I would return home and sit around before picking her up from school. I'd then get home and sit around some more."
He had already watched every episode of Prison Break and ended up watching lots of soap operas, but the sitting around was becoming increasingly difficult for Hume to deal with.
"It was quite tedious and started getting under my skin," he said.
A few days after Christmas, Hume went out for his first jog. He felt rusty and stiff but said it was great to be doing something active.
Fast forward to the end of March and Hume headed a football for the time since the injury.
It was a five-versus-two keep-ball session and Hume found himself among the two players trying to win possession. He wasn't really supposed to head the ball but when Anderson da Silva cheekily tried to chip it over him he did what came naturally.
"Anderson stopped and looked at me," said Hume. "He said 'what the hell are you doing?'. I thought the same thing but there was no pain and it was a relief."
By the end of April the Tykes striker was training normally with the rest of his team-mates and there seemed to be no doubt that he would realise his ambition of playing again.
But last season was difficult at Barnsley for many different reasons - one of them being the form of the first team.
The Tykes were battling against the drop from the Championship and faced a crucial final-day match at Plymouth with relegation a real possibility.
Hume told then-manager Simon Davey that he wanted to be considered for selection even though there were insurance implications as various medical assessments had not been carried out.
Davey opted against selecting Hume but Barnsley got the win they needed to guarantee their Championship status.
Hume had an extra two months to continue to build his fitness and finally made his return in a pre-season friendly at Gainsborough, coming on as a substitute shortly after half-time.
Barnsley had a free-kick in a wide position and Hume's first touch was a header that almost went in. The contact was made with the scarred side of his head.
"I knew a couple of the Gainsborough lads and it shocked them that I'd gone up to head the ball but I'd been doing in training for ages," said Hume.
His first meaningful goal came from the penalty spot in a 3-1 win over West Brom on 29 September.
"It had been a long time coming - I had a longer wait that most strikers between goals," added Hume.
"I was pleased because it helped us beat one of the top teams in the league but there was quite a lot of emotion after I'd been out for so long."
Hume talks warmly about the help and support he received from his family during his recovery. His affection and gratitude towards them is obvious.
He has also been moved by the reception he has received from supporters at all the grounds he has been to this season. Hume describes it as a humbling experience.
Morgan (right) picked up a booking against Newcastle on Monday
He cannot say whether he has had any contact with Morgan but what is now certain is that the two men will not come face to face on Monday.
Morgan picked up a yellow card playing against Newcastle in Sheffield United's last match and will now be suspended for the game against the Tykes.
I spoke to Hume before Morgan had been ruled out of the encounter and the Canadian certainly did not sound worried about coming up against him.
"To be honest I am really looking forward to it," added Hume.
"There will be a lot of people hyping up the game no end but I cannot go in there with a vendetta."
Hume has watched the incident that led to his injury on television but he has not dreamt about it or had any flashbacks. In conversation it seems as though Hume really has moved on.
His entire focus is on nailing down a regular first-team spot and scoring plenty of goals. I guess it all ties in with a new ambition that the striker has.
"I would like to be thought of as a footballer and a goalscorer rather than somebody who had brain surgery," he said.
And that, more than anything else, is why he is desperate to score against the Blades.