A wounded ex-serviceman, who is supported by Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery programme, has been selected to represent Great Britain at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships, which takes place from 4-10 March in Panorama, Canada.
Former Staff Sergeant, Mick Brennan (from Doncaster, South Yorkshire) was injured in a suicide bomb attack in November 2004 while serving in Iraq with the Royal Signals. Hurled 25 feet by the force of the explosion, Mick lost both legs above the knee and suffered a serious injury to his brain.
Several years later in 2008, with the support of Help for Heroes, Mick took part in Exercise Snow Warrior, an annual military ski training exercise involving adaptive sports, which is where he got hooked on skiing. Since then he’s been supported by the charity and through the Combined Services Disabled Ski Team (CSDST).
“I went on to take part in variety of sport programmes, before deciding at the start of 2009 that skiing was by far my favourite. Luckily it turned out that I was quite good at it as well so I was able to join the Combined Services Ski Team. I gained a place in GB development squad in 2009.”
“In 2010 I was one of eight athletes who travelled to the Vancouver Paralympic Games as part of the Paralympic Inspiration Programme. There I spent one week participating in a range of Winter Paralympic sports, alongside Canadian wounded military personnel, gaining insight into what it’s like to be at a Winter Paralympic Games.
“The following week I won a bronze medal in one of my first races in North America, I knew then that I wanted to ski for my country at the Paralympic Games in 2014.”
“Help for Heroes has been there every step of the way to help me not only achieve my dream but have the best quality of life possible. In 2011 the charity launched the Quick Reaction Fund and paid £27,000 for the necessary work to make my home accessible to me at last. In 2012 they supplied me with a new sit-ski that I used to compete in Sochi 2014."
“I’ve spent time at the Help for Heroes Tedworth House Recovery Centre using the world-class adaptive sports facilities, including the Skiplex and Swimex, and working with the centre’s lead strength and conditioning coach.”
Martin Colclough, Head of Sports Recovery at Help for Heroes said: “Everyone at Help for Heroes is hugely proud to support and work with Mick. He is full of determination and it has been fantastic to see the remarkable progress he has made in skiing, from the early stages of first trying the sport in 2008, through to 2015 as he continues to compete at the top level. The team are delighted he has been selected to represent Great Britain at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships, we will be cheering and willing him on this week. Mick is a fantastic example of someone that started by using sport at a grassroots level in his recovery, we’re very much looking forward to continuing to support Mick’s campaign on through to the next Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang 2018.”
British Disabled Ski Team Performance Director Duncan Freshwater said: “Training has been going really well and this has been reflected in the improvement in performances from everyone on the team this season. The competition is very tough but if the athletes focus on the task ahead then I believe that we will be able to replicate the success that the Para-Snowboard team had last week in La Molina.”
Mick is one of seven athletes selected to represent Great Britain who will be looking to build on their Sochi 2014 success.
Competition at the 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships starts on Wednesday (4 March) and continues through to Sunday (10 March). Around 130 athletes from 30 countries will compete in what will be the biggest gathering of skiers since the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
Live action and live results can be found at the Panorama 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships website.
Great Britain Team for the IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships:
Millie Knight, guided by Jen Kehoe
Help for Heroes has been involved with Sports Recovery since 2008, and in the past year alone have put on 300 events across 50 different sports enabling over 2,100 wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans to take part in adaptive sports from grassroots through to performance level.
To find out more about Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery Programme, and to keep up to date on Mick's progress follow @H4H_SR on Twitter.