Luckless midfielder Matt Rosa has revealed a rare condition that required last-minute surgery and ruined his 2013 season could have cost him his career.
A long, livid scar running almost the full length of the West Coast key runner's left thigh is all the evidence left of a frightening injury that threatened Rosa's career.
The 27-year-old initially thought nothing of a knock to his leg in the club's final NAB Cup match against Port Adelaide in Alice Springs a fortnight out from round one last year, discounting the swelling as usual for a corked thigh.
He did not realise something was wrong until a team meeting in Perth almost 48 hours later when his leg ballooned to an abnormal size, putting him in intense pain.
"I thought it was your regular cork, so I followed the procedures of icing and resting, elevation," Rosa said.
"On the Monday I was sitting in a team meeting and my leg just started to blow up.
"I was pretty lucky. I got rushed into surgery that night. It saved the muscle."
Surgeons had to slice open Rosa's iliotibial band - a group of fibres running along the outside of the thigh - to release the building pressure.
Rosa was later told he had experienced compartment syndrome, a condition that, in extreme cases, could lead to the loss of the affected limb.
The life-threatening problem is linked to insufficient blood supply to the muscles and nerves in a compartment of the body trying to repair itself after an injury.
"The oxygen stops going to the muscle, from what I've been told," Rosa said.
"It swells so much and because the ITB is a pretty tight band it's got no room to move.
"The muscle just shrivels up and dies without that (oxygen).
"It was quite lucky to have the surgeon on call and he could come in straight away and operate quickly, otherwise it mightn't have been recoverable.
"I didn't really know the seriousness until after the operation when I woke up."
Rosa returned to action by round seven, but admits the rehabilitation left him behind the eight ball and lacking the running power that had been a strength.
A back injury added to his frustration and his miserable 2013 season was compounded when he had surgery at season's end to remove plates from a collarbone.
It is not the first time that poor luck has been a feature of his 137 matches for West Coast.
He has previously battled shin splints, a serious knee injury and a fractured collarbone that have affected his availability.
·Defender Will Schofield has a low-grade hamstring strain.
West Coast said the 25-year-old was expected to return to the track next week.