Sport was always a massive part of my life before I was hurt. To be able to continue this even with my injuries gave me a new lease of life.
Duncan Green joined the Army aged 18 in 1999 and was deployed to Canada, the Falklands and the Middle East. However, his time in the army came to an abrupt end in the summer of 2010 when he was seriously injured whilst deployed on active service.
Duncan faced devastating injuries to his back, spine and legs and didn’t know he could recover: “Whilst I was lying in a hospital bed unable to move anything from the waist down, I thought my life was over. I had no idea how I going to be able to do anything again.”
There were many times he wanted to give up, but a turning point was finding out about the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Phoenix House, in Catterick: “Since I have been there I have achieved more than I had done in the previous 14 months. Instead of dwelling on the past I’m now excited about the future.”
Spending time at Phoenix House helped Duncan deal with not only his physical scars but also the psychological wounds he was living with too: “It’s thanks to the wonderful staff at Phoenix House. No matter who you are or what your injuries are they look at the person and how they can help them as an individual.”
Duncan’s biggest battle was still to come though, as nothing could prepare him for the void that was left by his discharge from the military: “Moving back home and away from my military life was so hard. At times I felt so alone I would just shut myself away from the world.”
It took a lot of hard work on Duncan’s part, but slowly he started trying to engage with life again. One of the things he did to help heal his mind was to open up to his friends about his problems and issues. It was during one of these conversations that someone suggested he get a tattoo, and that’s exactly what he did: “My tattoo honours everyone in the military who didn’t come home. Whenever I’m feeling low all I have to do is look at my leg and it makes me realise how lucky I am to be here and how I should be doing everything I can to make a life for myself.”
Now that he had come to terms with the loss of his military career, Duncan again turned to Help for Heroes to help him look to the future. This time it was through cricket: “Sport was always a massive part of my life before I was hurt. To be able to continue this even with my injuries gave me a new lease of life.”
An undoubted highlight has been playing at the world-famous Kia Oval against the England Disability Team as part of the Cricket for Heroes fundraising event in September 2015: “So many people came out in support and that left a lasting impression and a lump in my throat. Without these wonderful people many of us would not be able to have the lives we do now.”
Duncan has come a long way from the hopeless man lying in a hospital bed thinking his life was over: “I couldn’t have been more wrong, my life was just starting and I was going to go on do things I never thought would be possible.”