Four months ago Joel Thompson was found unconscious and airlifted to hospital after a nasty fall that left the NRL forward fearing for his life.
Now the Manly second-rower is set for one of the biggest honours of his rugby league career after being announced as skipper of the Indigenous All Stars.
Thompson will lead an outfit that includes the late additions of uncapped NRL players Zac Saddler and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown.
The Maori side on Tuesday confirmed Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Adam Blair as co-captains for the annual clash on the Gold Coast.
Thompson's appointment comes after a harrowing accident following a BBQ that resulted in him rolling down a hill and hitting his head on rocks.
It prompted the vetran of 221 NRL games to abstain from alcohol for a year.
"I had an arrogant opinion of being invincible and this accident has changed me forever," Thompson wrote on social media at the time.
"I've made bad decisions over the years which have impacted my family and I and it's mostly been when I've been drinking.
"I've changed so much over the last few years and to continue to grow I realise I need to give up alcohol. My first goal is 12 months."
The 31-year-old Thompson is widely regarded as one of the league's most respected figures, highlighted by his tireless work in the community.
He was also among the leading voices among the indigenous players that led to the NRL abandoning the national anthem at the All Stars game on Saturday.
The Indigenous All Stars were forced to rush in Thompson's Sea Eagles teammate Saddler, as well as the Warriors' Taunoa-Brown, after a spate of withdrawals.
Andrew Fifita, Adam Elliott, Ryan James and Cody Walker were left out of the original squad due to injury, with Josh Curran and Tyrell Fuimaono drafted in.
For the Maoris, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Bailey Simonsson and James Tamou are missing from the side initially selected.
They've been replaced by Bryson Goodwin, Jordan Riki and Pasami Saulo.
Tallisha Harden will skipper the Indigenous All Stars women's team while Raecene McGregor and Krystal Rota will co-captain the Maori All Stars.
Indigenous All Stars squad: Josh Addo-Carr, Josh Curran, Blake Ferguson, David Fifita, Tyrell Fuimaono, Wade Graham, Alex Johnston, Josh Kerr, Latrell Mitchell, Tyrone Peachey, Nathan Peats, Jesse Ramien, James Roberts, Tyrone Roberts, Zac Saddler, Chris Smith, Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, Joel Thompson, Connor Watson, Jack Wighton.
Maori All Stars squad: Adam Blair, Jesse Bromwich, Kenny Bromwich, Bryson Goodwin, Corey Harawira-Naera, Jahrome Hughes, Issac Luke, Esan Marsters, Briton Nikora, Kodi Nikorima, Kalyn Ponga, Kevin Proctor, Jordan Riki, Pasami Saulo, Brandon Smith, Brad Takairangi, Zane Tetevano, Dylan Walker, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak.
Australian Associated Press