Paralysed teenager recovers to join army

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A teenager left paralysed after a snowboarding accident is set to fulfil his lifelong dream of joining the army.

Shaun Davis was left wheelchair-bound and paralysed from the waist down following the accident two-and-a-half years ago.

After extensive physiotherapy treatment, the 16-year-old has now recovered fully from his injuries.

Later this month, he will swear an oath of allegiance before enrolling into Harrogate's Army Foundation College in January.

The Lancaster teenager will embark on a year-long course of military and vocational training at the college before completing further training with the Royal Artillery.

Shaun, who has been a youth member of the Army Cadet Force for over three years, said: "It is just something I always wanted to do.

"All the travel prospects and the different courses you can take appealed to me. There's always something different to do."

The former Morecambe Community High School pupil was enjoying a holiday in the French ski resort of Tignes le Lac in 2006 when his snowboard hit a bump and the board smashed into his back.

Shaun was initially treated for his injuries in hospital in Grenoble before being transferred to Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool.

It was another six weeks before he began to show the first signs that he might recover feeling in his legs.

Shaun said: "I was in my wheelchair at Alder Hey and one of my mates was on it with me. We were going downhill and whacked into something.

"We fell off, and I felt something in my leg. It all progressed from there."

He continued: "It was just lots of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy and practising with the nurse. The feeling came back slowly in blocks from the waist down, in little stages.

"I felt lots of different emotions, mainly relief that I could walk again." The 16-year-old is currently completing an army preparation course in Preston prior to giving his oath of allegiance on 17 December.

Shaun's mother Lorna Burrell said the taster course has been "pivotal" in preparing her son for Army selection.

She added: "We are very proud of the hard work that Shaun has put into his recovery and pleased that this set-back hasn't deterred him from his chosen career path."

Lieutenant Colonel Leanda Pitt, commander of regional recruiting for the North West, said: "Shaun has clearly shown a true fighting spirit to recover from his serious injuries.

"His determination to join the Army will reach fruition when he joins the Army Foundation College in Harrogate next month.

"He is a welcome addition to the Army."