Help for Heroes is a proud founder partner of the Battle Back programme, a UK Military initiative that forms part of the charities Sports Recovery Programme. Battle Back uses Adaptive Adventure Training and Sports Rehabilitation to help seriously wounded Service personnel gain independence and confidence to focus on what they can achieve, rather than what they can’t.
Battle Back at Headley Court
The introduction back into sport for someone who is first wounded is usually through the Help for Heroes funded Battle Back at Headley Court, where the wounded start their physical rehabilitation. These activities are in addition to the normal rehabilitation programme and are carefully designed to complement it. For example, a couple of hours on a water-ski builds confidence, is physically beneficial as well as being great fun, something that is missing from much of the daily routine of getting better.
The History of Battle Back
The idea for Battle Back came about in 2007 when Lieutenant Colonel Fred Hargreaves OBE saw a group of disabled skiers returning home from the slopes, carrying their adapted skiing equipment. He realised the equipment would allow his wounded comrades to take part in one of the military’s ski trips.
During early 2008, Help for Heroes met Rory McKenzie who had lost his right leg near his groin, he explained that his life had become so slow since being wounded; he missed ‘the wind in his face and the sun on his back’. Help for Heroes funded him to go skiing with Colonel Fred Hargreaves and his great team of adaptive ski instructors; after that Battle Back was born.
Following the success of the first adaptive skiing expedition, a group of individuals within the military, led by Martin Colclough at Help for Heroes, began to work on a programme of sports that could be adapted to aid in the rehabilitation of wounded Service personnel. The team established a series of sports and challenging activities that would expose patients at Headley Court to a degree of controlled risk and encourage courage, confidence, leadership, fitness and team spirit.
The Battle Back scheme was formally launched on 28 July 2008 and funded by Help for Heroes, exactly 60 years after Sir Ludwig Guttmann created the first Stoke Mandeville Disabled Games, set up for injured World War 2 veterans.