Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge has revealed that he feared that he would be unable to compete at the Olympic Games with Team GB even after recovering from viral meningitis.
The Blues star made a dramatic recovery from the illness to feature in the unified side's warm-up defeat to Brazil and will now go on to feature at the Games.
"When you play football you feel invincible," Sturridge told The Sun. "You don't think this can happen to you.
"I thought that all my hopes and dreams of taking part in the Olympics were over. I left the hospital on the Friday and the following Tuesday I went to the club and did a jog.
"I still had a headache and I was worried, thinking 'If we are meeting up next Monday there is not a chance I will be able to be involved'.
"But, fortunately, as the days went by I started feeling a lot better and did a lot of things at the club with no reaction. I was delighted with how things went but still feared I would not be able to recover quickly enough."
Sturridge thought that he might have picked up the illness when visiting a school and was thankful that the virus was spotted early enough to allow him to make a quick recovery.
"I just remember going along to a school one Thursday, handing out medals to kids," he explained. "I think I must have caught the bug there. I felt absolutely fine before that.
"I don’t know exactly where I caught it from but I just remember that day was the first day I felt the symptoms, which then got progressively worse over the next few days.
"I was just unfortunate. What happened to me could actually happen to anybody. But I would not wish what I have had on my worst enemy.
"I was fortunate enough to have a doctor who saw the warning signs straight away and got me off to a hospital bed immediately, not everyone is as lucky as me to have that privilege.
"They caught it quite early and I am delighted that was the case and that they acted so quickly."
The 22-year-old acknowledged that football will not be the main attraction of the Games but insisted he was delighted to be taking part in a rare opportunity.
"The Olympics are a lot bigger than football," he continued. "It is not just about football. It is about being part of a huge spectacle.
"I have made the decision to be here because it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience."