Bray Wanderers defender Hugh Douglas said he went to a "dark place" after suffering a second ACL injury, but he's now on the comeback trail and desperate to be a part of a bright Seagulls future.
Douglas tore his cruciate back in June, a dreadful injury no matter what the circumstances but particularly cruel on the Wicklow man given it was the second time he'd endured such a blow.
We need your consent to load this SoundCloud contentWe use SoundCloud to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences
He had to watch from the sidelines as his team-mates went through the mill on and off the pitch, while fighting his own grueling battle and privately questioning whether he'd ever make it back at all.
"I partially tore my ACL in training," Douglas told the Soccer Republic Extra podcast.
"We thought, with the medical team, we could do a conservative treatment. A two-week running plan was going to plan and unfortunately towards the end of that programme I collapsed again with it.
"The surgeon recommended that if I wanted to go back to the high level I was at I had to have an operation. I underwent the operation at the end of June and things are going to plan.
"Yesterday with my physio I began running which is a huge milestone in my book. It's little goals you have to hit along the way."
Douglas may be in better spirits now but the admits the setback initially took its toll.
"You do go to a dark place, I'm not going to lie. It's my second time, and you're saying to yourself, 'Jaysus I'm 25 now, two ACL injuries'.
"I'm lucky enough that it was two separate knee injuries, it wasn't the same knee, but you do have to rely on your friends, close family for support, and keep yourself involved in the dressing room; don't isolate yourself.
"The lads, in fairness to them, have reached out and they've been great with me.
"You ask yourself are you going to come back. You put so much effort and time into your career... the dedication you put into it in this league, and you don't get paid an awful lot of money.
"You get two injuries - unlucky. And you say to yourself, 'was all that time really worth it to be finished at the age of 25?'.
"I'm not saying I'm going to be finished at the age of 25. I'm very confident I'm going to come back form this better and stronger than ever, but you say to yourself, 'I don't want to call it a day here'."
Bray will be playing in the First Division next season after going through a dreadful campaign but there are causes for optimism.
New Bray Wanderers owner Niall O'Driscoll has made moves to improve morale at the Carlisle Grounds with a heavy emphasis on young players and young supporters.
Though today might seem bleak, tomorrow offers hope.
"It's a huge area," added Douglas. "I believe that he new owner is trying his bets to get initiatives in place to get people in the door. The junior supporters club was launched three or four weeks ago, which is fantastic.
"If we can get supporters in the door and get that positivity going there's no reason why Bray can;t have a thousand people at the games every week."
Hugh Douglas was speaking at the launch of the SSE Airtricity League FIFA 19 Club Packs. Featuring the club crest of all ten Premier Division teams €1 will be donated to the Liam Miller Fund for every sleeve download until 5 October. Sleeves available from www.easports.com/uk/fifa/club-packs