The Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Chavasse VC House, has introduced monthly ski and snowboarding sessions for wounded, injured and sick veterans and serving personnel as part of their Health and Physical Wellbeing programme. Now into its second month, and it is clear that these will be popular classes, with instant benefits for our Heroes. As an active sport it not only promotes physical wellbeing, which is so important to an individual’s general fitness, but it is also proving to be a vital social activity.
When Sam Jack was shot in the head during his tour of Afghanistan in 2009 he thought he would never be able to do the things he used to enjoy again, like skiing. The bullet that hit him had ricocheted off a wall, went through his eye and into his brain, leaving Sam, 27, with a life-changing brain injury and the loss of his right eye.
Lack of self-confidence, wariness of new places and people as well as bouts of extreme tiredness mean Sam’s recovery is a slow, on-going process. Help for Heroes are supporting Sam along his road to recovery by providing him with regular skiing lessons through the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Chavasse VC House in Colchester. Not only has he been able to build up his confidence on the slopes but was also able to meet and support a fellow injured soldier with similar eye injuries. For Sam, who is further down the recovery pathway, being able to share experiences and advice to another was a massive boost to his self-esteem and increased his self-worth.
“It’s very easy to lose confidence when you have a brain injury. Going out in public can be a daunting prospect which is why the Help for Heroes Recovery Centres are vital in providing professional programmes of support. I would never have done this on my own; it just wouldn’t have been possible.”
Georgie Friend, Health and Physical Wellbeing Advisor at the Colchester Recovery Centre said:
“The facilities at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead, where the sessions take place, mean that Help for Heroes can offer a choice of skiing or snowboarding depending on the nature of each injury or sickness and the individual’s personal objectives. Improving balance, boosting confidence and exercise are just some of the objectives we are aiming to meet.”