Team UK, supported and delivered by Help for Heroes, have won an impressive 27 medals in the Department of Defense Warrior Games in Tampa Bay, Florida…

Approximately 400 competitors representing teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), United Kingdom Armed Forces, Canadian Forces and the Australian Defence Force took part in the competition.

Andy Allen is just one of 20 wounded, injured and sick military personnel and veterans who were chosen to represent the UK at this year’s Warrior Games. At the age of just 19, Andy was deployed to Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment, where he lost both his legs and was partially blinded after stepping on an improvised explosive device.

“A part of me died in Afghanistan that day. I went from being a mobile person to relying on others to help me do everyday tasks. My physical and mental wellbeing were on a downward spiral but Help for Heroes got me back into sport. I applied for the Warrior Games so I could improve my fitness and mental health further. It’s been fantastic spending time with the rest of Team UK and seeing the drive, determination and team spirit of others; something I’d lost since leaving the military.

“Although I’ve brought home medals, which will be mementos for the rest of my life, it’s not all about that. I’ll take away much more. The comraderies, the bonds, the friendships. It’s given me a sense of purpose again. More importantly though it’s given me that drive and determination to get involved with these sports and take it up thereafter.”

Team UK took part in fourteen adaptive sports: archery, cycling, time-trial cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track, field, wheelchair basketball, indoor rowing, powerlifting, golf, wheelchair tennis and wheelchair rugby. The latter three sports for the first time in Warrior Games history. Andy brought home 2 silver medals in rowing, a silver in shotput and a silver in discuss.

Martin Colclough, Head of Sports Recovery at Help for Heroes, said: “It’s not all about winning medals. Throughout the last ten days of the Games we have seen friendships blossom, confidence grow and competitors pushing their body to the limit. The Warrior Games has very much provided our veterans and serving personnel the opportunity to be part of a team again, something the military often miss after suffering a life-changing injury or illness.

“It’s great that this year we have had 3 former competitors join us who have taken coaching qualifications to enable them to support their peers in their recovery journey. Their insight was valuable for the competitors this year; helping to allay any anxieties about what to expect and how best to perform in their chosen sport”.