Jeremy Cameron's left ear was "screaming" last Saturday, he had surgery to implant an artificial eardrum on Tuesday and he left hospital on Wednesday to medical advice that his hearing may never completely return.
But the All-Australian forward has passed a fitness test and declared himself ready to play for the GWS Giants against AFL leader Port Adelaide in Canberra on Saturday.
The 21-year-old, who has kicked 107 goals in 43 games, said he has no fears of returning to the field just seven days after suffering a burst eardrum in last weekend's loss to the Gold Coast Suns.
Cameron admitted he still had trouble hearing and surgeons have advised him it may never be 100 per cent again.
"It'll probably get back to 90 to 95 per cent in my left ear, so I'm pretty happy with that," Cameron said, after passing a fitness test on Thursday. "The way I thought it might have been early in the week, I was pretty deaf in it. Hopefully it heals up like they say it will."
Cameron suffered the injury after an accidental collision in the first quarter against the Suns, but played on and kicked four goals. Doctors were surprised he had no balance issues and have cleared his return.
"[The hit] perfectly made a seal over my ear, just compressed all the air in there and blew out my eardrum. It could have been a lot worse, thankfully it wasn't," Cameron said.
"I've been hit in the head a few times, but not where my ear started screaming at me ... it was ringing really loudly. It was a little bit concerning at the time, but I just checked in with the doctor and he said just to let him know how it goes throughout the game and if I lose my balance or anything, then get off the field. But it felt good for the rest of the game and I just got on with the job.
"It was a little bit weird at the time, I had a sit down in the rooms and it calmed down ... I told the boys they'd really need to scream at me if they want me to get in the right position.
"There's no balance issues, thankfully. It basically feels like it did in the game. Straight after the injury I couldn't really hear anything in my left ear and I still really can't now. I think it'll take two to four weeks to come back slowly and probably then only get back to 90 to 95 per cent. I'm pretty happy how it's going to pull up, considering."
Cameron's courage to play on is a boost for the Giants, who are still without senior ruckman Shane Mumford (knee) for another week and are missing co-captain Phil Davis indefinitely because of a kidney injury.
But Cameron said the risks of further damage were minimal.
"It was a freak thing and we've had a few of them this year, with Phil too," Cameron said of Davis, who was hospitalised after a knock to the kidney in the round-one win over the Swans.
"The main thing was to get the all clear from the medical staff and surgeon. He said there's no real issues ... the only way I could hurt it is if the freak thing exactly happened again. It's just like a normal ear now, it's just got a little false eardrum in there until the new one grows back over."