After I was injured, I felt like I was in hell. I attempted suicide maybe four or five times. It was a cry for help. I didn’t know what else to do.
Former Kingsman Anthony Cooper’s life changed forever when he was injured by a roadside bomb at the age of 22. He lost both legs above the knee and suffered significant injuries to his brain and hands. Now registered blind, Anthony has defied the odds. At one point he wasn’t expected to survive. Now, he’s learning to walk again.
A military career had been a long-term goal for Anthony, who joined the air cadets at 15 and the Army at 16.
“I’d wanted to do it my whole life. To serve Queen and country. I knew I was training to go to war. But when you do go, it’s totally different.”
Anthony was deployed to Afghanistan and in 2010 was on foot patrol in Helmand Province when an Improvised explosive device (IED) went off beneath him. He was medically evacuated back to the UK and put in an induced coma. Doctors told his family not to hold out hope, and within days, his organs began shutting down.
But, despite losing his right eye in the explosion and suffering the worst brain injury his doctors the seen in 25 years, Anthony pulled through.
As a double amputee with other catastrophic injuries, Anthony faced many obstacles ahead. Family visited him in hospital in Birmingham, then made regular trips to Headley Court where his rehabilitation began. Anthony’s mum Shelley sat with him for weeks, helping him learn how to speak again.
But it wasn’t just his physical injuries he battled with.
“After I was injured, I felt like I was in hell. I attempted suicide maybe four or five times. It was a cry for help. I didn’t know what else to do.
“Technically, the rough patch is still going on. It will be going on for the rest of my life – what I’ve seen will always be in my head. I don’t think it’s possible to just wipe that out.”
But with our support, Anthony, now 31, is discovering that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
“People were telling me that I can’t do sport because I’m blind, missing limbs, and missing the fingers on one hand. But Help for Heroes really encouraged me, and now I’m going to try out for the 2020 Invictus Games.
“Without Help for Heroes, I’d be lost. I’m in a better place now. If I’m struggling, I can ring up ask for advice, help, or if I need some respite, I can go to the Help for Heroes recovery centre where there are other veterans to talk to.”
“Coming forward for support is probably the best thing you can do. I’m blind and I’ve got a head injury, but the support network through Help for Heroes is the best.”
Anthony is one of almost 40,000 people whose lives have been derailed by injury. Join our mission to help all wounded veterans stand strong.
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