Danny Tickle has opened up for the first time about the incident that almost ended his Rugby League career.
The 33-year-old, who recently signed for Castleford Tigers after being released by Widnes, was left in a serious condition after an alleged attack outside a club in Ashton-in-Makefield, which left him with a bleed on the brain and a fractured skull.
In an exclusive chat with TotalRL, the former Wigan star revealed that the incident left him with serious injuries, which at the time looked set to bring a premature end to his playing career.
However, after an extensive recovery period, Tickle has managed to come through the incident and has now set his sights on eventually returning to the field at Castleford.
“I didn’t know if I was ever going to recover from the incident,” he said.
“It was quite a stressful few months. To have a bleed on the brain is quite a serious injury, and I had done some research and some people do recover and others wouldn’t. I was told it would be a three-month program to get playing, but then it was extended to six months.
“When my head hit the floor there was a small fracture as well. But the bleed on the brain put me in a dark place for a few months.
“Recovering at home, I did wonder if I would ever play again. If you had asked me three or four months ago, I probably didn’t know if I would play again.”
However, a near miraculous recovery has given Tickle some light at the end of a very challenging tunnel in his life.
His new deal at Castleford, which runs until the end of the year, gives Tickle a chance to not only prove himself to the Cas hierarchy, but also to himself. Naturally, given the severity of the injury, it remains unclear how well he will react to the rigours of Rugby League, and Tickle knows the risk might prove to be too high.
“It’s still debatable where I’m at,” Tickle admitted. “My main worry is if I start getting intense headaches while I’m playing. That’s not for me and it isn’t something I want to put my family through. When I get back to playing is a bit of an unknown, but if I was asked to play next week in my eyes I’d say yes, but that’s a decision for the medical people.
“I’ve progressed that well that the neurologists have given me the all clear. For me, I wouldn’t be putting myself in this position if I didn’t think I had it in me to play again. Everyone is aware that I’ve been out for so long, but I’m getting put through my paces fitness wise.
“But so far I’ve passed everything that has been asked of me. I’m really grateful to Castleford for giving me this opportunity to prove myself. I’m being monitored very well and I know myself if there is a problem. I have to take each week as it comes and I’ve really enjoyed this week and being back in training with the lads rather than on my own. I needed to get into the team environment which is why I’m really grateful to Castleford.”