Wallaby great Michael Lynagh believes it is a “miracle” he survived a stroke last year, he revealed Sunday.
The former Australian five-eighth spent two weeks in hospital in Brisbane after suffering a stroke in April.
“I was very lucky with just about everything that had to go right from the moment it happened,” Lynagh told BBC Radio Five.
“It’s just my miracle basically and thank goodness for that,” added the 49-year-old, Australia’s record points scorer.
Lynagh, capped 72 times, played as a centre in the Wallaby Grand Slam side that toured Britain and Ireland in 1984 and, in 1991, by then established as No.10, helped Australia beat hosts England in the World Cup final at Twickenham.
He was Australia’s captain when they reached the quarter-finals of the 1995 World Cup in South Africa and then retired from internationals to join English Premiership side Saracens at the start of rugby union’s professional era.
Since ending his playing days, Lynagh has enjoyed a successful business career and has become well-known for his work as a television rugby pundit.
But it was during what should have been a relaxing break that Lynagh almost lost his life.
“I’d arrived in Brisbane that day from Singapore, where I had a bit of work to do for three or four days,” Lynagh recalled. “I’d played golf that day with my father and a couple of friends.
“I’d had a steak and was on my third light beer. One of the guys was telling us funny stories and I laughed, and as I took a sip it went round the wrong way and I choked, and it was quite violent.
“When I stopped that and tried to open my eyes I couldn’t see.
“Then I was just trying to get my sight back. I was dizzy, lack of oxygen, that sort of thing.
“Then headaches kicked in quite strongly. I was taken into intensive care and was looked after very well, but I was very, very lucky to be here.
“It was pretty tough but basically my back right artery had split, causing a clot,” Lynagh explained.
Now, though, he is looking forward to the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia in June.
“There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and then, obviously, in terms of the Lions, and Australia,” said Lynagh a member of the Australia team that lost the 1989 series against the combined side 2-1.
“We’ve had a year where we’ve had a huge amount of injuries to the Australia team but we’ve coped with it.
“We probably would have liked to have won some more games, but we coped. The interest (in the Lions series) in Australia is enormous.”