He has beaten the odds more than once in his career and Wollongong's Kieran Govers has the will to keep defying the medical experts a little longer.
The Commonwealth Games gold medallist will undergo hip surgery for the third time in seven years on Thursday in Melbourne but says he has no intentions of giving up his spot in the Kookaburras.
"It's been five years since my last [hip operation], and the surgeon said in 2009 that I'd only be able to play hockey for another four years.
"I've lasted five so I've been going all right," Govers said before he flew to Melbourne on Wednesday.
"I'll come home after the surgery and be in Wollongong for a couple of weeks then I'll jet back to Perth to start my rehab.
"I'll get stuck into that because we've got some Test matches in November that I want to try and play. If not, I'll take another two months and come back in January and play."
Govers debuted in the national team in 2010 and won a gold medal at the World Cup that same year.
Despite his omission from the 2010 Commonwealth Games team, he was back in the Kookaburras side which won the 2010 Champions Trophy.
He has been a mainstay in the team ever since, only missing games with a groin injury and illness.
After initial hip surgery in 2007, Govers went back under the knife for the same procedure two years later.
He always knew he would need a third operation and refuses to feel sorry for himself.
"There's no point stressing about it. You're dealt what you dealt and you cop it on the chin," the 26-year-old said.
"I've got some bone spurs. They're going to do another resculpture and shave all that back.
"I've struggled throughout the last year just having to deal with the pain. I'm not too sure what the outcome's going to be. I'm just going to wait and see what he finds inside and go from there," he said.
"I've always had this big plan of playing for as many years as I can, but if I can get two out of it ... we'll see what happens. You can only take a certain amount of bone off because it doesn't grow back."
Sports memorabilia collectors have the chance to buy the Kookaburras jersey Govers wore in the Games' gold medal game against India.
"Nathan Eglington played for the Kookaburras at the Athens Olympics and his daughter has been diagnosed with a rare disorder, so I'm just trying to raise a bit of money by putting my jersey up for grabs on eBay," he said.
"It's not going too badly at the moment. Hopefully people will keep bidding."