Nearly two years after his head smashed on the ground during a drunken altercation in Northbridge, Luke Adams remains grateful he was not killed.
But as debate rages about a crisis in alcohol and drug-fuelled violence, the 22-year-old has a powerful message that one night out can have devastating consequences and change your life.
"I am never going to be able to be the person that I could possibly have been," Mr Adams said.
In his first interview since a jury acquitted the man accused of assaulting him last year, Mr Adams told Channel 7 last night of his disappointment at the verdict and frustration with the legal system.
But he says he does not have a vendetta against the man as he continues the battle to restore his independence.
Though he said the acquittal left a bitter taste, Mr Adams was well aware he could have died.
The once promising footballer, whose parents faced the decision of whether to turn off his life support, says he had a relapse over summer.
A seizure on Boxing Day, then another, led to two hospital admissions, a diagnosis of epilepsy and more medication.
Mr Adams says he regrets not jumping in a taxi and going home after leaving a nightclub and becoming involved in a dispute about 2.30am on May 1, 2011. His message to other people was to go home earlier and choose venues carefully.