A Croatia international who played in Italy has revealed that he performed for a number of years with just one lung.
Former Pescara striker Ante Vukusic says that he had been playing football for years without realising that he had a problem with his organs.
The 26-year-old, who recently signed for Russian Premier League team Tosno, explained that medical personnel in Italy did not know that his lung was not working properly and he only received a proper diagnosis when he moved to Russia.
"In Italy I experienced big problems, but the doctors claimed they were caused by back issues," Vukusic told Sportske Novosti.
"I would struggle for 20 days and then it would pass, but in a while the pain would return again.
"But as I went to Russia, doctors realised everything was fine with my back, but I had a lung problem. The doctor told me it is a miracle how I was able to play for several years with only one part of my lung functioning!"
Vukusic subsequently underwent surgery on his right lung and will be out of action for a period of three months while he recovers.
"Now I have to take a 2-3 months break, not doing anything and then I'll hopefully be able to play football again," said the former Hajduk Split forward.
"But at least now I can breath fully..."