Sunderland goalkeeper Darren Ward is ready to resume his playing career.
In September, Ward collapsed unconscious after getting out of bed in the middle of the night, with the fall aggravating an old back injury and leaving him with severe pain in his back, leg and foot.
The incident was a frightening time for Ward’s wife Nicola and their children, and it has put life into perspective for the 34-year-old Wales international who says he is, first and foremost, grateful just to be back in good health.
“It happened when I got up in the middle of the night and then the next thing I knew, my wife had called 999 and I came round to find the paramedics there.
“They said the worst thing was the noise I made when I fell down. I was a dead-weight, so to speak!
“It was quite a loud thud and it woke my wife up and the kids, and they were very worried.
“I had a lot of tests but they came back clear. I was really happy about that because you do wonder why this happened.
“The doctor put it down to a condition that sometimes affects males between 35 and 50, and it means that sometimes when you get up in the middle of the night you can come over dizzy and faint.
“That was what happened to me, but it went on to the next level where I basically lost consciousness.
“It’s one of those nightmare things that can affect you just once in a lifetime and then never again. Certainly I’ve never had any problem before or since.”