Nikki Paterson, who is supported by Help for Heroes, won the Adaptive Athlete of the Year Award at the Army Sports Awards last night.
Nikki, now a Para-Canoeist for British Canoeing, served nine years with the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers. She was involved in a traffic accident in 2010 when she was hit head-on by a car. In 2012, after numerous operations, Nikki made the tough decision to have her leg amputated.
Nikki got back into sport after the amputation, trying out many sports with Help for Heroes and finding herself becoming mentally and physically tougher as she started to rebuild her life.
Nikki was spotted as talented at a Talent ID day ran by Help for Heroes and British Paralympic Association and from there started working with British Canoeing.
Nikki was selected for her first World Championships in Aug 2015, winning a silver medal in her classification, only narrowly missing on gold to her GB stable mate (Emma Wiggs - a 2012 paralympic sitting volleyball player) and is second in the world for her classification.
She now has her eyes set on a Paralympic Games and representing her country once again.
Jayne Kavanagh, Performance Pathway Manager at Help for Heroes who runs the charity’s Paralympic programme said: “We’re absolutely delighted for Nikki. Nikki has demonstrated excellent progress with British Canoeing, having previously shown great potential as a skeleton slider. Sport is a key part of the recovery journey, giving an individual purpose to achieve again. We’re very proud to have supported Nikki and can’t wait to watch her progress even further.”
Former servicemen Dave Henson and Mikey Hall were also nominated for the award for their sporting achievements after injury.
The Army Sports Awards were hosted by the Chief of General Staff and were organised in collaboration with Team Army and the Army Sport Control Board to celebrate the sporting achievements of military personnel and veterans. The Army takes sport very seriously, not just because it expects its personnel to be fit to serve, but because the values and standards enshrined in sport perfectly match those held so highly in the military.
If you’re wounded, injured and sick and think Help for Heroes may be able to help you, get in touch with the team.