Shane Duffy has said an emotional thank you to the men who saved his life.
The Republic of Ireland international was seconds from death after a freak accident during a training game in Malahide.
However, the quick thinking and expertise of Ireland team doctor Alan Byrne and surgeons John O'Byrne and Gerry McEntee prevented a tragedy.
The 18-year-old Everton defender from Londonderry has now left Dublin's Mater Hospital simply grateful to be alive.
“This time last week, I thought I wouldn't be here, so I have to realise I am here and I have to look at the bigger picture,” said Duffy.
“I am just here to thank all the medical staff who saved my life. (surgeon) Gerry McEntee, (Ireland team doctor) Alan Byrne and (Ireland team surgeon) Professor John O'Byrne saved my life.
“I just want to thank everyone in the hospital for everything they have done. They saved my life. This time last week, I was in there having an operation and it was a scary time. I just have to thank everyone. It's been a crazy time, a crazy week.”
Duffy was left fighting for his life after a seemingly innocuous collision with keeper Adrian Walsh, and collapsed in agony on the pitch at Malahide United's Gannon Park home.
Dr Byrne and Professor O'Byrne quickly realised the damage was serious and rushed the defender to hospital, where it was discovered 3.6 litres of blood — around two-thirds of his total supply — had leaked into his abdomen from his ruptured hepatic artery.
That led to a sudden and dramatic fall in his blood pressure which might have proved fatal had A&E staff not managed to stabilise him.
Duffy said: “I really didn't know what had happened, it was a blur. I woke up on Friday night with the operation done, but my mum and dad were telling me that I had nearly died last night. It was crazy.
“But everyone in there was top-class, and I can't thank the FAI enough, the nurses and the staff.”
Duffy now faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines, but hopes to return to action within five months.