NSW State of Origin star Latrell Mitchell admits he thought of Alex McKinnon immediately after he hurt his neck during the Sydney Roosters' NRL win over Penrith.
Mitchell sent a scare through the Roosters and Blues camps when he was accidentally caught under a tackle from Panthers halfback and Blues teammate Nathan Cleary on Friday.
The game was stopped for over five minutes at Allianz Stadium as medical staff took every precaution and lifted the Roosters centre onto a medicab.
With just hours to go before his 21st birthday, his career wasn't the only thing that flashed before him.
"I was more so worried about myself. I was thinking, 'Is this the end of me?' I was scared of the fact that my neck had a massive crunch. I just heard it," he said.
"I felt if I could move my arms, feel my legs, get that positive vibe and start feeling all right. But then I couldn't really breathe. I felt like there was a brick on my chest."
Mitchell remembered instantly entering into a stage of panic as trainers tended to him.
"I thought of Alex McKinnon straightaway, what situation he went through a couple of years back. I caught a little tear in my eye," he said.
"I had to think about how he went through it and what he's going through now. If that could be me, what could I do? I was thinking about what life's after footy now and how I'm going to get myself better.
"(Once) I could move my arms and legs, that was the positive boost I got. It took that panic away."
Mitchell immediately went for MRI scans in the Moore Park precinct - where he was later cleared of major damage to his neck - before receiving a visit from Blues teammate Tyrone Peachey.
Peachey had just been sin-binned at a critical junction in the match but, having featured alongside Mitchell in the Blues' Origin I win in Melbourne, wandered over to check on his health.
"I seen him go off and it looked pretty bad. I just wanted to let him know I was thinking of him and that hopefully he was all right," Peachey said.
"After getting to know him last week, he's a champion bloke. You hate to see someone go down and to see someone I'm friends with now go down like that, I was just checking on him."
Mitchell was moved when Peachey sought him out during the match.
"It's a confidence thing for me, for him to come in and see if I was good. A lot of respect for him and he's obviously a good bloke," he said.
"Obviously I'm grateful to be doing what I'm doing now."