Sport has always played an important part in Horowhenua-Kāpiti Bears player-coach Chad Law's life, but he knows it's just a game.
A horror run of concussions is forcing the gentle giant to look at what is most important and focus on his other loves in life - like his family.
The six-foot seven-inch man mountain was felled by a nasty bouncer that snuck under his helmet two weeks ago while opening the batting against Taranaki at Donnelly Park, and was knocked unconscious.
With blood streaming down his white shirt from a cut to his jaw, he lay stretched flat on the wicket. He was helped from the field and taken to hospital.
The 33-year-old has now been concussed or knocked out more than a dozen times while playing sport and those cumulative head injuries have meant ongoing health consequences, including bouts of depression.
A top football player too, his first concussion came when he was just 15. As a defender, he was always in the thick of the physical exchanges and "seeing stars" started to become a regular occurrence.
He was again knocked out while trialling for the New Zealand secondary schools football team as a student at Palmerston North Boys' High School.
By the time he reached his mid-20s and plagued with headaches, he received medical advice to stop playing football and made a decision to step back from cricket for four years, too.
He was prescribed medication for the headaches, which he still takes today.
While it spelled the end of his football career, he began to play representative cricket again years later, wearing a helmet for protection every time he batted, and had managed to enjoy several seasons relatively symptom-free.
"It can come and go. You become better-equipped and smarter at trying to managing it," he said.
But the latest concussion had brought back the seriousness of what he was dealing with.
Law had become an accidental advocate for mental health by bravely speaking up about his own battles with depression, helping to raise awareness among teenagers and even teammates.
Despite being initially coy about sharing his stories and personal experiences, the feedback and encouragement he got from people for speaking out that gave him the impetus to continue to talk openly.
The response gave him the assurance that sharing his experiences and raising awareness was the right thing to do.
"I realised there was no shame in sharing. I'm more than happy to have my name next to it. I'm not an expert, but I have life experience," he said.
He was recently invited to speak at a local secondary school about his sporting experiences and chose to share information about his battles with concussion and depression.
"The positive feedback from that means I'll continue to fight ... just sharing and having the courage to share my story makes it worthwhile if you can teach people to reach out. I'll keep fighting that fight.
"But when you are unwell it's not easy to do. I'm just trying to break it down and make people unafraid.
"I'm not afraid to speak about it. If I can show one person that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that's all I want. If people can see an example of who had been through tough times ... "
For someone who had played representative cricket and soccer at age-grade and senior level with aspirations for higher honours, he understood the importance of life outside sport - a "plan B and a plan C".
"I thought I was going to be a Black Cap or an All White so didn't concentrate in class. That didn't happen and I try and encourage younger ones to have a back-up plan ... sport is only one piece of the puzzle."
That awareness had brought about changes to his coaching style, too. He provided players with the opportunity to freely talk about any issues affecting them on and off the field.
"That's the thing. You can talk about physical injuries, but mental health was certainly applicable to me and could be traced back to the head knocks," he said.
Law said depression was not something you suddenly left behind, either.
"You don't generally ever get a clear bill of health. It's generally a lifelong journey managing it. You have dark days so for me depression and anxiety is something I'll always manage, and you learn coping mechanisms.
"The more you know about it the more equipped you are to deal with it."
Law said concussion didn't have to mean unconsciousness. It could be anything from "seeing stars" after a head knock to delayed concussion.
"There were ones when you were completely out and came to on the grass, while there are others where your vision is blurred and you see stars," he said.
"You don't have to lose consciousness and black out to be concussed."
There had been an increased focus on head injuries in sport in recent times. Where sportsmen and women may once have played on regardless, it was now accepted that any sign of concussion warranted serious attention.
An HIA (Head Injury Assessment) was now a common part of the sporting vocabulary.
"There are all sorts of different ways it can affect you. It can have a cumulative effect too, you can have one and then get another one in a short space of time and it can compound on you."
Law said he had every physical injury "under the sun" while playing sport, but the difference with a head injury or depression was that the damage was invisible.
"It can be very difficult for anyone, particularly blokes, to articulate what they are feeling and that can be a barrier to getting help," he said.
"It's important people reach out. You might notice someone is a bit off and rather than hammer them for it you could say something like 'I've noticed you haven't been yourself lately'."
"It just might help."