Schalk Burger revealed that his brush with death in 2013 made him realise that there is more to life than rugby.
The Springbok flanker was being treated for a cyst on his spinal cord and caught bacterial meningitis, which infected his spinal fluid.
Burger spent days in the Intensive Care Unit and reports circulated that he was in dire shape. However, after four tense days and five operations, Burger miraculously came through.
After rehabilitation and a decent return Super Rugby season, Burger would be picked for the Springboks in June 2014.
"Rugby pretty much dominated my life, it was 80 per cent-plus," said the 32-year-old.
"Whatever I did revolved around rugby. But now I see it as a much smaller part of my life, maybe 20 per cent. There is much more to life."
However, that is not to say Burger doesn't put in the effort on the field. In fact, he is currently leading the World Cup in carries, with 80 in his six games.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer also sang Burger’s praises.
“The great thing about Schalk is that for him just to be alive is great," said Meyer.
"That why he's so relaxed. He's always smiling, right before the match, and I think he's not ready but when he goes on the field he's like a different human being.
"Schalk's workrate is immense, he's probably the fittest he's ever been. He adds so much around the park with his play and his leadership. But he says he plays just to have a beer with his mates."