Rugby league player Ben Czislowski was in for a shock when it was discovered that for the past 15 weeks he had lived with a rival's tooth dangerously embedded in his forehead.
Czislowski, who now plays for Wynnum Manly in the Queensland Cup, had the tooth removed last week by a doctor who made the startling discovery.
The tooth belongs to 22-year-old Tweed Heads forward Matt Austin, who broke his jaw in a nasty head clash with Czislowski on April 1.
Says Czislowski: "I had a really big head collision and got split straight away. We both got taken off and I knew the other guy (Austin) had lost a couple of teeth, but I just thought they were on the ground.
"I never thought there would be a tooth in my head." he laughs.
"I just got a cut, they stitched me up, but straight away the eye swelled right up. My whole eye closed over and it was closed over for more than a week.
"The doctor thought that was just from the teeth making the cut . . . I was on heavy antibiotics and it seemed to clear up. It got better, but didn't get back to perfect - my eye was always hanging over and it was always sore", the rugby player added.
The 24-year-old was forced to cope with shooting pain, headaches and fatigue prompting him to consider quitting the game he loves.
"Every time I got a whack, even at training, it killed me," he says. "I'd get hit by a pad and it would throb and ache - it was a constant hindrance.
"I was always flat. I had no energy. It was always sore. I'd come to training and I didn't want to be there, and that's never been me. I had all these thoughts that I'd lost passion for rugby league, but I just didn't have any energy.
"I realize why my energy levels were down now because my body would have been constantly fighting it."
Czislowski is fortunate the infected tooth did not cause more serious damage.
"I've got it at home. It would be three-quarters of a tooth. I've got it in a jar in my trophy cabinet," he says with a laugh.