'I could have died': Tiger Jack Higgins

Callum Godde
Richmond's Jack Higgins feared the worst when he underwent brain surgery

Jack Higgins has revealed doctors prepared the AFL livewire for the worst ahead of dangerous brain surgery, outlining the risks of paralysis or even death.

The Tiger recalled passing out while undergoing MRI scans after having blurry vision and headaches following a VFL clash in July.

He woke up surrounded by five doctors and was told he'd suffered a brain bleed and would have to undergo an operation.

"I cried a bit when I heard the news," Higgins told Richmond's website.

"It was really scary when the neurosurgeon told me there's a lot of risks in the surgery.

"If he touches the wrong thing, I could be paralysed, never play footy again or even worse, die."

The scans also confirmed the young Tiger had an abnormality that made him more susceptible to brain bleeds.

It was a dark time for Higgins, who wondered while hospitalised for two weeks whether his AFL career was suddenly over after just 33 games.

But back in full contact training as part of Richmond's pre-season camp on the Gold Coast, the 20-year-old is sporting his trademark smile again - as well as a pesky helmet.

"At the time, there were some pretty bad things going through my head," Higgins said.

"I thought I'd probably never play footy again, probably never walk again, have to have a carer for the rest of my life.

"So, to be out there training, after I had the surgery three months ago when I hardly could walk, hardly eat ... it's pretty crazy."

He's still dealing with impaired vision but his eye-sight has steadily improved since the operation.

"I couldn't really read, couldn't see the TV," Higgins said.

"My vision is still a bit blurry now."

Higgins credited his recovery to the overwhelming outpouring of support from family, friends and the Tiger Army.

"All the people were telling me, even the nurses 'we can't believe all the support that has come for you'," he said

"All the fans were writing really nice messages. I had my girlfriend there, my parents, they couldn't believe it.

"It was a very tough time in my life, but that sort of got me through it."