David's Story

David joined the Royal Marines in 2012 but sustained several injuries whilst undertaking Royal Marines Commando training, including a broken foot and nerve damage to his left shoulder. It was the ongoing issues with his shoulder that resulted in a medical discharge in June/July 2015.

Being in the Marines was all David ever wanted to do.

During the rehabilitation process David’s physiotherapist advised David to ‘go home and think about his future and what he wanted to do’. After a week David returned to say that he wanted to be a physiotherapist.

David started the ‘Access to Health Professions’ course at Walsall College in September 2015 and successfully completed his studies in June 2016. He has been offered a place at The University of Nottingham and started a three year BSc Hons degree in Physiotherapy in September 2016.

In September 2015 David was referred to Walking With The Wounded’s Head Start programme, which provides access to a therapist to support clients with mental health injuries. David said he could tell things were ‘going out of control’ and he was referred to Head Start by Hidden Wounds.

David completed 12 sessions through the Head Start programme and says: “I’m happy – I now know where I’m at - I am in a good place.”

David admits that at the end of the planned sessions he still ‘felt all over the place’ and was aware that there were still ‘cracks under the surface’. However after an additional therapy session, provided free of charge by his therapist, he is now “in a really good place”.

His therapy has given him the skills to help support his mental health and he knows that support is there if he needs it.

David said it was “great to get a rapid response. Waiting to see a therapist would have been too late as I was probably pushing myself too hard trying to cope with my studying and my condition.” The Head Start programme aims to provide an appointment within 10 working days of a referral being approved and with a therapist within a 10 mile radius from home.

David was aware that he was ‘stretching himself’ and that he was ‘getting worse’ before his therapy started, however he now has a greater understanding and is being open and honest about things – and is now able to recognise when he needs support and can utilise the skills he developed during his therapy.

David’s shoulder injury will always leave him with pain due to the nerve damage, which does affect his left hand. However, he is able to manage the pain. David is able to maintain his fitness and is hoping to get back into cycling which he enjoyed before he sustained his injuries.

With a career in the Royal Marines no longer possible, David said he is enthusiastic about studying physiotherapy, it is a degree that is completely ‘employment focused’ and he hopes that it will be a career choice that changes his life.

David said: “I hope more veterans will take similar journeys to me and lean on Walking With The Wounded to get the support they need.”