Te Puke forward Simon Chisholm took the field on Saturday almost nine months to the day since a cowardly king hit left him in hospital with severe concussion.
Chisholm, who suffered bruising to the brain after being struck unawares by Te Puna player Uenuku Pieta in a spiteful clash last season, came on midway through the second half in the unfamiliar position of lock.
Initially there were fears that Chisholm would never play again, but Te Puke coach Craig Jeffries said there was never any question that Chisholm would do all he could to get back on the field.
"He's been yelling at me at training so I relented this week - he was almost on the bench last week," said Jeffries. "He got a little bit of game time so it will be interesting to see how he pulls up.
"He came out at lock so we could see how his head responds. He's done contacts at training. I've got a letter from the neurologist clearing him - he's symptom-free for more than a month because it's been 10 weeks."
Chisholm's desire to play has been evident to all those who have watched Te Puke Sports play so far this season, with the hooker stalking the sidelines armed with water bottles and more intensity than many of the combatants.
"He hasn't been away from the group. He's been a big part of our training, a big part of our coaching and part of the senior group, so he hasn't gone anywhere in that regard and it's just good to get him back on the field," Jeffries said.
Chisholm wore headgear and got around the sodden turf of Murray Salt Stadium well. The one blemish on his report card was being marched 10m by the referee for backchat.