Only the quick thinking of VfB Stuttgart's team doctor rescued captain Christian Gentner, who swallowed his tongue in a horror clash in Saturday's Bundesliga game against Wolfsburg.
Genter was left bloodied after Wolfsburg goalkeeper Koen Casteels' knee caught the midfielder on the head late in the 1-0 home victory.
Gentner swallowed his tongue in the collision and only the fast reactions of Stuttgart doctor Raymond Best, who ran onto the pitch, prevented a tragedy.
"If our doctor hadn't reacted so quickly...," said shaken Stuttgart director Michael Reschke.
The club later wrote on Twitter that Gentner was recovering in hospital and was responsive.
"That was a shock for us all, they were dramatic minutes," said Stuttgart coach Hannes Wolf.
"We had tremendous fear that what happened could have left lasting damage.
"We couldn't enjoy the win, our thoughts are with our captain.
"He has definitely got a bad concussion, probably broken a few bones, but the doctor says he will make a full recovery."
Gentner's team-mates were shaken after witnessing the collision.
"I am sad about what happened and Gentner's health is in my thoughts," said Stuttgart defender Denis Aogo.
"I wish him all the best, hope there are no lasting consequences and that he is back soon."
The 32-year-old Gentner made five international appearances for Germany in 2009/10.