Darlington midfielder Michael Brough has thanked manager Mark Cooper and the club for their support during his nine-month injury lay-off.
The 30-year-old had suffered with a chronic knee cartilage problem but has now recovered sufficiently to make four appearances for the Quakers this term.
"The manager was always very good," Brough told BBC Tees.
"They supported in terms of medical care, I wouldn't be back here playing without the support."
Brough added: "A lot of other managers I've had earlier in my career probably wouldn't have been like this and given me the opportunity so I'm grateful."
Nottingham-born Brough opted to seek a second opinion when initially told he could be forced to retire; a decision he says extended his career.
"It was a long nine months and there were a few points where I thought I might have to retire," the former Notts County man said.
"I didn't want to retire, it's all I've ever known, I love doing it, I wanted to give it every chance.
"It's been a lot of graft in terms of leg weights and a lot mentally, there have been hiccups where the knee has ballooned and I've thought that it would be over.
"One of my friends had to retire at a similar age, I spoke to him and his advice was try to play as long as you can, you're a long time retired.
"He made a decision to retire when he could possibly have grafted and got on, and his advice was give it as much of a good shot as you can."