Former Middlesbrough defender Gary Parkinson is acting in a scouting role for the club, despite being paralysed.
The 43-year-old, who represented Boro between 1986-1993, is suffering from a debilitating illness called locked-in syndrome.
He was working as head of youth with Championship club Blackpool until he suffered a severe stroke in September 2010, leaving him totally paralysed.
But with his mind still fully active, he is now helping Boro boss Tony Mowbray scout potential new signings by watching DVDs and then rating them by blinking to his wife Deborah - the only way he can communicate.
Parkinson has been visited by Mowbray and his former Middlesbrough team-mates at the Priory Highbank Centre, Bury, regularly since he was left paralysed by locked-in syndrome in September last year.
The 43-year-old was initially confined to his bed, which was the result of a stroke in the stem of the brain which connects it to the body.
He has been for day visits to his home, while there are hopes he will get his speech back after an operation on his vocal chords.
Mowbray revealed the news, saying: "We were determined to give Gary a role where he could feel involved. Not only that, I genuinely value his opinions about the game.
"We let him have a look at some of the players who come to our attention and it gives Gary something to concentrate on. Long after he ceases to be headline news, we will still be there for him."