Four wounded, injured and sick veterans and serving personnel from the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester began their first day of training on Tuesday 11 August with GB Wheelchair Rugby. The team have been invited to take part in the BT Wheelchair Rugby Community Festival in October at the Copper Box Arena at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford, the home of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
The festival kick-starts a week long International Wheelchair Rugby Challenge between the Paralympic Gold medallists Australia and teams from the USA, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, France and Great Britain. For our Heroes, this is a great opportunity to play under the world spotlight and show to the audience that there is life beyond injury.
The team of three wheelchair users and one able-bodied veteran began their training by learning how to manoeuvre the specially designed chairs with GB coach, Luke White before moving on to passing and the rules of the game. It certainly wasn’t as easy as it looked but very soon all four mastered the basics and began a ferocious game in which they showed they meant business.
Wheelchair Rugby is one of 50 sports that Help for Heroes offers to its beneficiaries from grass roots to elite level and for some of the team this was the first time they had tried it. For veteran Jason Usher this was a chance to try something new and to challenge himself.
Jason said: “I really enjoyed my first day of training for Wheelchair Rugby. It was empowering and being part of a team made me feel like I was back in my regiment, all working towards to a common goal. It certainly helps to rebuild confidence which can easily be shattered when you become medically discharged. We’ve got a focus and a sense of purpose as we aim for October’s Community Festival.”
The team will train at the Garrison’s Corporal Budd VC Gym, which is opposite the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Chavasse VC House. The Colchester Garrison have recently opened their sports facilities to Help for Heroes to support the delivery of Sports Recovery activities such as this.
The Colchester Recovery Centre offers a whole range of sports and Health and Physical Wellbeing activities for service personnel (veteran or serving) who have been wounded, injured or sick. For further details about how we can support and eligibility please call the Support Hub on 01206 814886 or send us an email.