In recent years stories of military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan have been all too common. But equally frequent have been tales of great courage and bravery, especially among those injured in action and recovering back at home. In the UK the charity Help for Heroes has helped to keep the profile of those injured in service high, but what goes on behind the scenes?
Over the last 18 months Active Hands has been privileged to work with DMRC Headley Court, assisting with the rehabilitation process for military personnel through demonstrating and developing gripping aids. It’s been an exciting relationship for both parties.
Headley Court is the British Armed Forces’ main rehabilitation centre, based near Leatherhead in Surrey. It’s an impressive facility, with around 200 staff, and many patients recovering from injuries sustained in active service, either from IEDs, bullet wounds or blast injuries. Many have spinal injuries, nerve damage or amputations, often resulting in weakened hand function, which means Active Hands is in a perfect place to help.
Headley Court have been prolific users of Active Hands aids, with many servicemen and women finding them essential for their rehabilitation. However, it has been the face-to-face meetings which have been the most fruitful, discussing particular needs and developing bespoke aids for individuals. In fact a new product due to be released shortly (a gripping pad mainly for helping with free weights) was developed and tested with patients at Headley Court.
A recent happy customer had this to say about us:
“Thank you for your fast delivery of the Active Hands aid. My disability is my left hand where I have limited function and sensation as a result of a blast injury in Afghanistan in 2008. I have been using the aid for two years and it has helped me so much, especially in the gym environment where I like to lift weights. Without the Active Hands aid I wouldn’t be able to lift, grip or train my upper body. I even use it for pull ups.”
Lance Corporal Michael Lewis, 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment, British Army