Middlesbrough defender Seb Hines has revealed his relief after making his return to first-team football at Darlington after a string of injuries.
"It was a pleasure to be out there again," Hines told BBC Tees.
"To get back out there today was well worth all the hospital visits, the patience and time in the gym."
Hines added: "I trained with the reserves so fitness-wise I was able to run and it was a case of waiting to get back into full training and games."
Hines has suffered with ankle and knee problems, in addition to recent troubles, restricting him to just 24 appearances since making his debut at the age of 18.
"I've always said once I had the injury I wouldn't change my game, I would still be as committed as before," Hines added.
"I think it helps, it prevents me doing anything stupid, and it was a freak accident.
"I just carry on with what I do: heading the ball, defending and everything I used to do before I did my jaw."