Jermain Walford is facing a dilemma countless people are dealing with: should he continue playing a collision sport given his history of concussions?
While the Tamworth flyer decides whether to restart his rugby league career with Werris Creek, he will debut for the Northern Eagles at the annual National Touch League in Coffs Harbour next month.
Walford, 21, missed most of last season after being "knocked out" twice in the opening three rounds.
A few years ago, the winger suffered mild to moderate brain damage when he was KOed playing for Oxley Diggers under-18s at Kitchener Park.
"I'm not a stranger to head injuries," he said, adding: "After all the history I've had with concussions ... I've gotta go and get some tests [before contemplating a league return]."
Walford said Werris Creek wanted him back. "Chris Wilson and Matt Parsons [the Magpies' reserve- and first-grade coach, respectively] have been messaging me to come back.
"[They'd] love to see me in the black and white this year, but I don't know. I'll see how I go after touch, I guess. But I wouldn't want to risk anything before touch."
While sidelined last season, Walford "turned his attention" to touch and oztag. He is the coordinator of the Euraba side, who compete in the annual National Indigenous Touch Football Knockout each year.
Late last year, he played for the Australian Indigenous under-21 oztag side in New Zealand.
His Northern Eagles selection occurred after he was invited to trial for the side. He said he had not participated in any of the selection events because the Tamworth Touch Association was not affiliated with NSW Touch.
When NSW Touch told him this, he replied: "Oh well, there's always next year. And a few days later, they sent me an email and invited me to trial ... If I was selected, they would sort out the affiliation issue later."
Having the chance to play for the Eagles "means the world" to him, "because my father-in-law, Johnny Knox, represented and captained the NSW Northern Eagles ... I'm just grateful that I've been given this opportunity to go down and show off what I've got."
Gunnedah Bulldogs halfback Matt Brady is also an Eagle. The side have two more training runs before the four-day tournament starts. Those sessions are in Macksville, some 300 kilometres from Tamworth. Brady will drive Walford there.
Walford said he had had "multiple battles" with Brady in rugby league, but had never played alongside him. "I know how talented he is and how smart he is on the filed when he's got ball in hand," Walford said.