I like to think seeing me and hearing my story gives the lads coming in some hope.

Dean Middleton | INSPIRE

Dean, 30, served in the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment. He suffered a serious brain injury while serving in Afghanistan in 2010 when his Jackal (an armoured vehicle) was hit by a Taliban bomb in the Bowri desert.

Dean remembers: “After I was attacked the surgeons had to cut half my skull away because my brain was swelling. I now have a titanium plate. I was medically discharged because they said my problem-solving ability had been affected by the injury. I was down to attempt selection for the SAS in the winter of 2011. The plan had been to pass selection for the SAS, like all my friends from 2 PARA who went on attempt it, and live happily ever after in Hereford, where the SAS are based.”

Dean is now using sport to aid him in his recovery and works at Help for Heroes Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick. The staff there were so impressed by his recovery and positive spirit they offered him a job in the gym after he gained his qualifications. Dean is relishing being up and about again: “Any of the guys will tell you the most frustrating thing when you're a physically active soldier is having to sit around not doing anything. I like to think seeing me and hearing my story gives the lads coming in some hope.”