(Reuters) - All Blacks scrumhalf Piri Weepu was reduced to tears after discovering he had suffered a minor stroke while playing for the Auckland Blues earlier this year.
The 30-year-old had surgery to repair a small hole in his heart after scans in late March revealed he had been playing through the symptoms of a stroke for three weeks.
Back in training for his Super Rugby side this week, the 71-cap halfback said the shock of realising what was behind his health problems had produced the emotional outpouring.
"When I first found out it actually happened I had a few tears because it's something you don't really expect," Weepu told Fairfax media.
"After having my little cry I rang the old lady to let her know, and it only took her about two minutes to start giving me a bit of grief.
"I'd never had anything like that happen before. I was scared it might have been something worse than just concussion, so I guess finding out three weeks later and knowing the outcome was a bit scary."
Weepu will not play for the Blues in their crunch match against the Wellington Hurricanes this weekend but could be in contention for a return at Eden Park against the New South Wales Waratahs on April 25.
"He's really keen to get back into it," said Blues coach John Kirwan.
"He's seeing one of the best in the world, and his specialist has said he could get back to training this week and can be available from next week. It's incredible really."
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)