Clifford O’Farrell was serving with the Household Cavalry in Afghanistan when, in December 2009, the Jackal he was travelling in hit an Improvised Explosive Devise (IED). "I was left semi-conscious with a fractured right hip joint, shattered left tibia and fibula, broken heels, half my right calf missing, fractured neck of femur and dislocated right shoulder. My commander had fractured wrists. During the incident, even though I was in a terrible state, I tried to treat myself and get to my commander to give him first aid."
Clifford was taken to Camp Bastion where he was reassured that everyone else involved in the incident was ok. At this stage, he still had his legs but the medical staff were unsure whether they would have to be amputated or not. He was CASEVAC'd (casualty evacuated) back to the UK where his legs were saved after 20 long operations and a total of 10 weeks in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham before moving onto DMRC Headley Court. ‘Most of my time during rehabilitation was spent trying to get fit and return to work as well as learning new skills in the event of being medically discharged and thankfully Plan B did pay off. After being medically discharged from the army in September 2015 as my injuries were too severe to continue service and happy that I was able to keep my legs, After getting married I started in a new career in aviation working towards my commercial helicopter pilots licence and will hopefully work for the air ambulance once my training has been completed”
The competitive edge
All of the people involved Clifford’s treatment have allowed him to progress steadily along his road to recovery, ‘A little way of paying them back is to work hard at a second chance at life. At the beginning, when I was still in a wheelchair, I managed to complete 100km on a bicycle which has lead me to competing in the Cotswold 113 triathlon, UK Iron Man, as well as the inter-services open water championships at Lake Bala.’
Clifford has been very involved in all sorts of things, from fundraising for Help for Heroes to continuing adventure sports with Battle Back, which the Charity has supported.
"I have been carrying on with physical activities and have played Polo at the Heroes Cup in Tidworth, been scuba diving with sharks and skydiving to name a few of my adventures during fundraising for Help for Heroes and to try and give something back for the fantastic support which has been provided. I now look forward to a new career as a helicopter pilot, I may have to start a new career again but it doesn’t mean I have to sit behind a desk, the adventure and service continues but in a different way.
"With the support of those who work hard at the initial stage of rehabilitation of injured soldiers to those who support such a worthy cause like Help for Heroes, those that are injured could only progress from strength to strength and will set the standards for more to follow and will show that disability does not mean that there are limits."