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Biopsycholsocial model used for military amputees

1 November 2010 - 3:10pm

Images of military amputees skydiving out of planes and competing in para-cycling championships set the backdrop for an inspiring Congress session outlining the military’s ‘Battle back’ rehabilitation programme.

Based at the Ministry of Defence centre at Headley Court, Major Martin Colcough manages the programme for amputees, using sport and adventure to challenge body and mind. He told delegates the approach was based on the biopsychosocial model. Launched in 2008, Battle back encourages injured military personnel to get active early into their rehabilitation. Exercise ‘snow warrior ‘was the forerunner of the scheme, with skiing used as a motivational exercise. But soldiers can now participate in athletics; wheelchair sports; watersports, including rowing and canoeing, and archery and shooting. And as a further motivational push, the programme offers more adventurous activities such as skydiving and Channel swimming endurance events. ‘It’s all about using sport to be active and independent,’ Major Colcough said. Among many inspirational case studies were those of two soldiers who had recently been picked for the GB para-cycling team and were competing at international championships in Germany. One had lost a leg only 18 months ago. And reaching such sporting heights is not unusual for participants, Major Colcough said. ‘The aim this year was three GB vests for our guys, but it already looks likely to be four by the end of the year,’ he added. 

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