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Rehabilitation for wounded soldiers

#1
I'm a platoon commander who has had two of his soldiers wounded in Iraq. One is still going through rehab at Hedley court, while another has recently returned to battalion.

To that end I would like to start this thread to allow others who might have been wounded or injured to swap ideas and stories etc... and help others returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with moral support and the like.

Ultimatly I'm looking to start some kind of website (if it already hasn't been done) that will provide links, information and directions for British service men and women who are looking for some where that brings toghether all of the differnet support agencies.

Any advice, ideas and directions from others would be welcome.
 
#2
May I suggest the social workers at Headley Court. There understanding of the requirments and needs of our injured is very vast. If you like a contact Tel No, then please email me and I will supply you with that number.

Hitback
 
#3
There was a website set up by an Officer as a part of a rehab thingymajiggywaddyacallit It was pretty good, made as a diary, he had his Dads diary on the website, said what the family were feeling and how his recovery went, I read it all in one night and I cannot find the link for love nor money!!!

Royal Irish IIRC

Anyone got the link???
 
#4
Priam said:
There was a website set up by an Officer as a part of a rehab thingymajiggywaddyacallit It was pretty good, made as a diary, he had his Dads diary on the website, said what the family were feeling and how his recovery went, I read it all in one night and I cannot find the link for love nor money!!!

Royal Irish IIRC

Anyone got the link???
See here.
 
#5
I've come accross his site before. I thought it was very good. Something along those lines that allows everyone to communicate is what I'm looking to set up, as well as provide information, help and links to areas such as BLESMA etc...

Keep the suggestions comming.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#6
Eyes,

I was going to post this as a separate item but thought this thread was as relevant as any:

Source here


A SOLDIER'S STORY


10:15 - 04 December 2006

As casualty figures mount in Iraq and Afghanistan, Cat Turnell meets a former soldier helping today's wounded servicemen

The sky was starting to streak with the first purples and mauves of evening as 21-year-old infantryman Steve Gill made his way back to base. The Cosby-born soldier only had two more weeks left of patrolling Belfast's tinderbox streets before his tour of Northern Ireland ended.

Warmed by the thought of getting off duty, he and fellow troops were trudging past a Falls Road pub garden.

Little did he know that, within seconds, his life would be changed forever.

Terrorists had placed a powerful homemade bomb inside an empty beer barrel, primed to go off as the squaddies passed.

"It was just a big flash, a big bang," remembers Steve.

"Then I remember being thrown from one side of the road to the other, into a factory wall. And lying there thinking, 'what the bloody hell just happened?' I think I was conscious for about 20 minutes, then I lost too much blood. I came round in hospital five or six days later."

When he did regain consciousness, Steve discovered his right leg had been amputated above his knee.

He'd also lost his right eye and suffered severe internal and external damage.

The surgeons, however, had managed to save his right arm.

"A week after that, I was told I'd be losing my left leg below the knee," says the father-of-seven. "That was rough."

So, there he was. A 21-year-old Leicestershire lad in a rock-hard Army bed, looking down at where his legs should have been.

Injury, he knew, was a hazard of the job, but he never thought the career he started at 17 would be over so soon.

"It was a bit of a shock to the system," says Steve, the undisputed king of understatement. "Then, there was a sense of not believing that it had happened to you."

In the months that followed the stocky, 5ft 10in soldier dropped in weight to five-and-a-half stone.

There are a lot of things that go through your mind when you're in that condition, says Steve, now 37, over a cup of tea at home in Cosby.

Farley, a two-year-old black Labrador from Dogs for the Disabled, half slumbers at his master's feet.

The hound's ears twitch as Steve continues his story.

"You think, 'why didn't I die?' or 'that's me knackered for a long time'. I didn't know whether I was coming or going.

"You're laying there thinking, 'What am I going to do? What quality of life am I going to have? Who's going to want me in this condition?'."

"But you've got to be positive," he says, firmly. "I had an Army mindset, and that helped."

Today, the former soldier is helping Blesma, the British Limbless Ex-serviceman's Association. It's Steve's way of saying 'thank you' for the support they've given him.

The job sees him travel monthly to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham to visit servicemen returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with serious injuries. Some, like Steve, are double amputees.

There are more injured troops returning every week, he says, and the way things are, it's only going to get worse.

Steve, who spends two hours at the gym every day working on his formidable upper body strength, is not exactly backward in coming forward.

He's the perfect poster boy for these soldiers: He's active and happy, something which belittles the fact he hasn't walked on his own two feet since 1989.

"I say to them, 'keep it real', 'don't try and run before you can walk' and that Civvy Street is a totally different lifestyle.

"I say 'don't just sit back and sit around' because that's not going to work. Nothing's going to come to you. You've got to get out there. Get the MoD working for you."

A lot of the men ask to see what his prosthetic limbs look like.

Steve, naturally outgoing, is more than happy to strip off and show them. Even if it means standing in the middle of a hospital ward in his pants.

The youngest victim he has seen was 18. His right leg was torn off by a bomb blast while he was travelling in a semi-armoured vehicle in Iraq.

"He'd only just come out of training. He was all right, he was not too bad, but it's pretty rough, really," concedes Steve, who was with the Royal Anglian Regiment. "He'd only been with his unit for four to five weeks."

"He was asking me how long it took to get back to normal. Can he drive? Can he still do his boxing? I had to say, 'how many one-legged boxers do you know of?' But then I told him he could always be the first."

As for being disabled, Steve says he does "okay".

He can drive - he has an automatic people carrier. He can walk using crutches, or he can get around in his wheelchair.

It's the basic things he misses out on the most, he says. He'd love to be able to run around with his kids.

When he went on holiday to Tenerife in August, he saw his youngest lads Ike, eight, and two-year-old twins Tiger and Chico splash about in a swimming pool.

The other dads were able to be a bit more physical and that smarted a bit.

However, says Steve, suddenly counting his chickens, he'd originally been told the bomb blast would make him sterile.

"So, I thought I'd prove them wrong," he laughs. "I quite enjoyed proving them wrong."

But as well as being a dad and a Blesma helper, he also goes into schools in Leicestershire to give the lowdown on disability, showing youngsters what it's like to be in a wheelchair.

He shows them that disability is physical, not mental, and that, if anything, the brain has to work even harder.
At the end of the school sessions, the kids play basketball in the wheelchairs.

"I get a massive kick out of it," says Steve, who plays for the wheelchair basketball team the Leicester Cobras and who, last month, married his long-term girlfriend Deon.

"As you get older you realise there's nothing stopping you from doing anything, or at least trying anything."

If he ever feels low or if wants to spoil himself, Steve tends to get a tattoo done.

"It's like how women are with nails and their hair," he reasons with a schoolboy grin.

There's a tattoo of a cartoon bomb on his left arm with the date of May 10, 1989, the day he lost his legs and nearly his life. "I survived!" it reads beneath. Then there's another one: "The strong survive".

As our interview winds up, Steve says he'd be happy if just one person was inspired by his story.

"If, for one second, they think about something I've said and it gets them up and active, that's amazing. That's what I'm trying to do," he says. "I'm trying sky diving next year."

Le Chevre
 
#7
hitback said:
May I suggest the social workers at Headley Court. There understanding of the requirments and needs of our injured is very vast. If you like a contact Tel No, then please email me and I will supply you with that number.

Hitback
Try also The Royal British Legion on 020 7973 7215.
 
#8
Have you thought of setting up a forum on ArmyNET - all the agencies have links on the site and it would provide a secure context for discussions and easy access for everyone.
 

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