James McEveley has revealed that he almost died when recently undergoing a routine operation on a fractured cheekbone.
The Derby defender suffered the injury against Middlesbrough two weeks ago and was booked in to have surgery shortly after.
However, the 24-year-old, who has had five operations in the past, suffered a reaction before the surgery began, causing his heart to stop for two minutes.
The former Blackburn youngster was rushed into intensive care as doctors tried to save his life and McEveley points out that the situation has made him sit up and re-evaluate his life.
"It was supposed to be a simple operation to pull the cheekbone out, but just before that my heart decided to stop on the operating table," he said.
"I didn't realise until I woke up in intensive care when I was wired into machines. When they told me, it was a shock to say the least.
"For my heart to stop for two minutes was a real shock - 10 or 20 seconds is bad enough, but two minutes is just scary.
"My mum and dad were back in Liverpool and my girlfriend Carla was in the ward. They called her and she was all over the place.
"My mum was in hysterics and they drove down immediately to stay with me overnight. I don't know if it was a reaction to the anaesthetic but I've had five operations before and nothing has ever happened like that.
"I'm just happy to be here, you look at life in a different light now. You take things for granted, but this has really opened my eyes."
McEveley is the second Derby player to suffer problems with his heart in a matter of weeks after Rams youngster Mark O'Brien underwent surgery on his heart valves earlier this week.
The Scotland international admitted that he had undergone further tests and he has now been given the all-clear.
"They've done loads of further tests on my heart and I've had the all-clear," he added.
"The doctors have said it won't affect my career and I can carry on as normal. I've never been bothered by operations before, I quite like the feeling of being put to sleep, but if I need another one now, I will definitely be wary. If I can avoid it I will."
The Rams ace has returned to training this week and could even feature against Coventry on Friday with the aid of a protective face mask. McEveley even admits that manager Nigel Clough has begun to joke about the incident.
"The gaffer was calling me Lazarus. I've not really thought about the fractured cheekbone to be honest," he concluded.