Army super-gym and regional rehabilitation centre for injured servicemen

This is “old” news from December 2009 but we’ve only just come across it and thought it was worth publishing as an example of what positive things can be achieved when money, will and effort come together. Thanks to Leggz for sending it in.

What a fantastic difference this centre must already be making to all those injured servicemen and women amputees and otherwise.

But also… what a pity there can’t be more of these kind of facilities made available for all those unsung heroes; the civilian amputees who often have to fight so hard to have access not just to suitable facilities for exercise and rehabilitation but to obtaining the prosthetics they need in order to live a full and independent life in the first place.

A Training and Adventure news article

21 Dec 09

A new Army super-gym and regional rehabilitation centre for injured servicemen was officially opened last week in Wiltshire by a soldier who was himself seriously injured in Afghanistan earlier this year.

The purpose-built Physical and Recreation Training Centre (P&RTC) in Tidworth Garrison was opened by Sergeant Gavin Harvey, of 6 Close Support Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

Sgt Harvey lost both legs when his vehicle was blown up by an improvised explosive device in Helmand province during OPERATION PANTHER’S CLAW.

The new facility offers soldiers a hi-tech gym for physical training and fitness together with a specialist environment to recover from injuries sustained on operations, accidents or playing sport.

Sgt Harvey said:

“When I looked at my injuries I thought I was going to die, on more than one occasion the doctors told my wife that I would not survive.

“I was fit when I went out to Afghanistan and my fitness and core stability kept me together and got me stable again.

“Having a facility like this is great establishment to better yourself and your fitness levels. The centre is going to give soldiers a better fighting chance of full recovery if they raise their fitness.”

The building, with a design which is dominated both outside and in by large curved beams of Finnish wood, is comprised of a large multi-purpose training area which can be used for sports ranging from badminton to football.

It also boasts a state-of-the-art gym which includes weight training equipment and cycling machines with built in television screens. There is a separate training area with spinning machines for cardio-vascular work.

This state of the art building was delivered, three months ahead of schedule, through Project Allenby/Connaught, an £8bn 35-year contract with Aspire Defence Limited, which is providing modern, fully serviced, living and working accommodation for 20 per cent of the British Army in the Salisbury Plain and Aldershot Garrisons.

As with the other 540 new and refurbished buildings being delivered, the super gym will be maintained throughout the life of the contract and will not be allowed to deteriorate.

Sgt Harvey deployed to Afghanistan on OPERATION HERRICK 10 in April this year as a member of The Light Dragoons’ fire support group attached to A Company, 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment.

On 4 August he was commanding the lead vehicle of the escort group for a re-supply convoy taking part in OPERATION PANTHER’S CLAW.

His vehicle, a Spartan Armoured Vehicle, struck an improvised explosive device in Babaji, in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand Province. The explosion killed his driver, Craftsman Anthony Lombardi, but Sgt Harvey defied the odds to survive, not only the traumatic amputation of both legs, but also horrific pelvic and internal injuries.

Following treatment in Afghanistan at Camp Bastion he was admitted to Selly Oak Hospital and he has recently started rehabilitation at Headley Court.

His positive mental attitude and determination to return to duty have been key factors in his recovery and rehabilitation. His excellent physical fitness and outstanding core stability are thought to have helped him survive the blast and speed his recovery.

For more, and to see the photographs with this story, please follow the link:

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