Hull City captain Ian Ashbee has revealed that he was advised by a specialist to consider retirement.
The 33-year-old midfielder has not played a competitive game for the Tigers since May 2009, when during a clash with Aston Villa he suffered an injury which led to a degenerative bone condition.
Having suffered the same injury in 2005, fears emerged that his playing days were soon to be over.
However, Ashbee has recently featured in friendlies against North Ferriby and York, and is looking forward to the new season.
He told the Hull Daily Mail: "He (the specialist) told me to consider retirement. He was looking out for me and the quality of life I'll have after football.
"You see ex-footballers who have difficulty moving around and he was probably more concerned about me as a human being rather than a footballer.
"It's easy for someone who's not a footballer to say retire, but I don't think people outside of the game know what it means to play football.
"You only get one chance in football. If it meant I was out for a year to get another year of playing, I think any footballer would do it."
On his current condition in the run-up to the upcoming Championship campaign, Ashbee added: "At the minute I would say I'm 65 to 70 per cent fit.
"I'm harsh on myself, but I know a big part of my game is getting about the opposition.
"There's some fantastic people who have come to the club this summer, some of the best I've worked with, and they will help me get to where I want to be.
"I've got a good feeling that regardless of whether I'm wanted in the team, I'll be fitter and stronger as the season goes on."