Injured soldier Matthew Richardson enrolls in Paralympic Inspiration Programme
AN INJURED soldier who nearly lost his feet in a bomb blast in Afghanistan has taken up a daring winter sport.
Lance Bombardier Matthew Richardson, 26, was struck by a landmine while on patrol in Helmand Province in 2008.
Both of his feet were shattered by the blast and as a result he had to have reconstructive surgery to his left foot.
He was told he would be medically discharged from the Royal Artillery. Now he has taken up skeleton – similar to bobsleigh – and enrolled in the Paralympic Inspiration Programme for aspiring Paralympic athletes.
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He said: “Skeleton is not an official Paralympic sport, so we are waiting for the go-ahead with that first.
“When you go down the ice slope, you get a real adrenaline rush.
“The programme I have joined is helping inspire and prepare parathletes to get involved in sport.
“This year I went out to Utah to start my skeleton training as there are no practice ice runs in the UK.
“I have also been to Austria and will be going to Canada later this year.”
Matthew, from Barton, said when he first tried the sport, he found it difficult and sustained a lot of bruises.
He said: “I would never have got involved in the sport if I had not been injured so I have turned something negative into something positive.
“Soon after my accident, I realised I would not be an active soldier again.
“I have no job and will soon no longer be part of the Army, so joining the Paralympic Inspiration Programme has given me something to aim for.”