HE MAY not remember a thing but Nicky Hunt feels simply lucky to be alive.
On November 10, the Darlington defender fell backwards during a game against Boston and was out cold.
Darlington star Nicky Hunt will play just three weeks after a horror head injury saw him stop breathing TWICE[/caption]
The night game at Blackwell Meadows was abandoned and Hunt, 37, drifted in and out of consciousness during a 69-minute wait for an ambulance.
He was eventually taken to hospital at 11pm before being released at 5am.
But if it was not for the quick reactions of physios from both sides, the ex-Bolton favourite knows how it could have ended.
Speaking to SunSport, Hunt said: “I spoke to our physio, Danny, the day after and he was like, ‘Your pulse was always there but you stopped breathing twice’. It was a scary time.
“Because the ambulance took so long, if the medics weren’t there then I would have been in a whole heap of trouble.
“The first week was bad. I was on tablets, painkillers, everything. I had swelling on my neck so I had to get that down.
“I’ve just got to thank them from the bottom of my heart and I see myself as lucky to be ready to play today.”
Hunt trained for the first time again on Thursday and has been passed fit to face Bristol Rovers in the FA Cup second round.
Hunt, 37, was asked by his dad whether it was time to retire[/caption]
Quakers officials had feared they were losing him overnight — and his dad asked whether now was the time to retire.
But Hunt said: “I am itching to get back. I know myself, I know my own body and I know my mental state.”
Back-pedalling to meet a header, Hunt did not see Darlo team-mate Tony McMahon’s challenge with an opponent.
He went over, with all of the impact on his neck.
Ex-Middlesbrough defender McMahon said: “We had both ended up on the floor and it looked as if it was nothing.
“But it became clear it was and I didn’t leave his side until the ambulance came. It was really scary.”
Hunt has no recollection of the match and has only recently started to feel normal again.
He added: “I remember driving to the game and then I remember waking up in hospital with shining lights in my face.
“It puts a lot of things into perspective. Enjoy things in life and enjoy football as long as you can because you don’t know when it’s going to be taken away.”
“The video of the incident is so innocuous, it was next to nothing.
“I go up for a header, pull back awkwardly and yeah, you wonder how I ended up in such a state.
Ex-Bolton defender Nicky Hunt in action against Cristiano Ronaldo [/caption]
Before the incident, Hunt was loving life with the Quakers in the National League North.
A semi-pro for the first time, the veteran is eyeing up life after football – which he hopes is a year or two off yet.
Coaching is an option, with just his Pro Licence to complete.
But a life in property or as a football agent appeals to the former England U21 international who reached the FA Cup quarters with Bolton in 2005 under Sam Allardyce.
Adam Campbell’s brace against League One Swindon put sixth-tier Darlington in the third round for the first time since 2003.
And Hunt, who won promotion from League Two with Crewe last season, reckons Alun Armstron’s side have it in them to cause another shock at the Memorial Stadium.
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He added: “I thought that non-league was nowhere near league standard, but it’s a very fine line now. A lot of non-league clubs would do well in League Two.
“They will be out to impress new manager Paul Tisdale but we are under no pressure and it’s a free hit. The onus is on them.
“A lot of the lads are from the North East so want Newcastle away if we win.
“I’ll take anyone. I’ve been lucky enough to play at all the Premier League grounds, but I’d love to have another crack at the whip against world-class players.
“I supported Bolton as a kid but I was in a school in Manchester so all my friends tried to convert me to Manchester United.
“I caved into them but in my heart I’ve always been a Bolton fan.
“They were beaten by Crewe so that fairy tale has gone – though possibly only until next season!”