GREATER Western Sydney star forward Jeremy Cameron has revealed he thought his career may have been over after a serious knock to his ear early last season.
Cameron suffered the injury against Gold Coast in round six and despite having midweek surgery ran out against Port Adelaide the following week.
The 21-year-old has only now spoken of the huge concern surrounding his health and his AFL career at the time of the injury.
"A specialist put me in a booth and tested me and said you probably shouldn't play the game again," Cameron told the Daily Telegraph.
"He said, 'I've seen people with a better ear than yours is right now and they can't balance at all for the rest of their lives'.
"It was a massive shock. It was pretty hard to sit there and absorb that. It could have been over, as simple as that.
"It doesn’t matter what sport it is; cricket, tennis or golf, whatever it is, if you can’t balance, you can’t play."
Cameron sustained the heavy blow in the first quarter of the match against the Suns at Metricon Stadium, but after being assessed by doctors was cleared to play on.
The spearhead went on to kick four goals in a gutsy performance.
"I thought that happens all the time, getting belted in the ear," Cameron said.
"I went off and had it assessed. My eardrum was blown completely out. I had no hearing in one side and ringing in the other. I had no hearing basically.
"It didn't affect my balance at all. It could have been the worst of the lot but it wasn't.
"The damage was to the inner ear where the small bones are. The fluid in there should have leaked but somehow it didn’t and that's why I was OK and played the next week."
Cameron had surgery the Tuesday after the game against Gold Coast and had an artificial eardrum inserted into his ear, allowing him to play just four days later.
It was a testing year for Cameron, coming off the back of his breakout All Australian season in 2013.
He was limited to 29 goals in 14 games and battled a niggling ankle injury for much of the early part of the year before having surgery in late July.
"They (ankles) were both pretty bad," Cameron said.
"My right one was OK because it wasn’t my kicking foot.
"My left ankle was always jamming so they put some screws in and scraped a bit of bone."
Cameron said it was decided to end his season prematurely to ensure he was ready to attack this year's pre-season campaign.
"I could have struggled on for the rest of the year, but that would have set back pre-season," Cameron said.
"Because I’ve had the surgery done early, I was able to do my rehabilitation before Christmas and went home like everyone else.
"Because of that I feel like I'm flying."