London Irish fly-half Chris Noakes has revealed that a neck injury he suffered last year almost forced him to quit rugby, according to BBC Sport.
29-year old Noakes joined the club from the Auckland Blues in his native New Zealand over the summer and he told BBC Radio Berkshire that an injury sustained in the gym could have seen him retire early.
He said: "It was something that scared me a lot. I needed to take a lot of time to think about whether I wanted to play rugby again.
"The neck injury was very unique and interesting but it's not something you mess around with."
Noakes returned to action from the bizarre neck injury in time for Blues first Super Rugby clash in February and admitted it was a tough rehabilitation period for him to undergo.
"I slipped a disk in my neck. It was in the gym - I seem to get injured in innocuous ways," the New Zealander said.
"It was a significant recovery period. I spent a month in a neck brace and then another five months in rehab before coming back. I've not had any setbacks but it was a nervous time."
Unlike many of his fellow sporting professionals, Noakes seemingly has a plan for life after rugby - a plan which he may have needed had he chosen to quit the game.
He has degrees in law and commerce and he admitted that would have been the path he would have taken if he had to hang up his boots.
He said: "I spent eight months working in a law firm so it's something I have to fall back on when I stop running around a field.
"Knowing I have something behind me alleviates the stress of what is to come."
Noakes has made two starts for the Exiles so far and feels his side should be challenging for the play-offs despite a disappointing finish last time around.
"I want to establish myself in the first team and be consistent," he said.
"We have a goal of being near the top and as far as I'm concerned we should be in the play-offs."
London Irish travel to beleaguered Leicester Tigers in their next Aviva Premiership clash this coming weekend.
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