Suffering an horrendous knee injury during this year's Connacht semi-final clash with Galway, Mayo's Tom Parsons is out the other end of a complicated surgery, and on the road to recovery.
An absentee for the majority of Mayo's relatively brief run through the 2018 championship, both the county and Parsons will be hopeful that 2019 offers some semblance of a chance to make up for lost time.
Going through an arduous period of recuperation, the Charlestown man has been open in discussing the personal difficulties he faced, and the remarkable kindness of certain sporting figures who went out of their way to do what they could for him.
Irrespective of their code, Parsons discovered that encouragement truly can come from the least likely of sources.
Thanks to the intuitive thinking of a close friend, Parsons found himself receiving reassurances from the former Munster and Springbok centre Jean de Villiers.
A World Cup winner with South Africa in 2007, de Villiers' tournament was rocked by an injury in the opening game. Going on to play over 100 games for the Springboks, de Villiers played the 2009/10 season with Munster
"A best buddy of mine, Joe McBrien, a club footballer, contacted him through a social media platform," Parsons recalled.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Parsons revealed the extent de Villiers went to in trying to help him see the other side of an unquestionably difficult period.
"Fair play to Jean, he sent me a fantastic, motivating, inspiring letter about the story of his recovery to come back at the age of 34, to play in the World Cup.
"The injuries were very similar, his reconstruction was fully artificial, which was different to mine."
Citing the "amazing goodwill from people" in and beyond the GAA community, Parsons appreciated the effort de Villiers and others alike went to in taking the time to help him out.