Injured veteran David Dent flies flag for Help for Heroes

David Dent has become a Help for Heroes ambassador. Picture: Help for Heroes

David Dent has become a Help for Heroes ambassador. Picture: Help for Heroes

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A VETERAN whose injuries drastically deteriorated after he left the army has praised the charity Help for Heroes for its commitment to support veterans for life.

David Dent, 49, uses a wheelchair after suffering two injuries while serving as a frontline trauma specialist with the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps.

David Dent in his army days. Picture: supplied

David Dent in his army days. Picture: supplied

He said Help for Heroes has been there for him in numerous ways and had recently invited him to be an ambassador for the charity.

Born in Jamaica while his father was serving with the Royal Scots, the oldest infantry battalion in the British Army formed in 1633, now part of 1 SCOTS, David grew up in Germany, Cyprus and Edinburgh. Both his parents come from Scotland and David and his family now live in Law, Lanarkshire.

He joined the army in 1990 after training as a specialist intensive care nurse, working at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. He was first injured in Bosnia in 1994 during a missile attack.

He initially thought he had suffered a shrapnel injury to his back and torso but, a few years down the line, it emerged he had undergone a serious blast traumatic brain injury. He was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive disease found in people who have suffered a severe blow to the head.

David was later injured in Belfast while trying to extract a casualty from a dangerous situation.

He has since been told he has an unstable fracture, which is too risky to operate on. The condition has deteriorated and causes him chronic pain, including sciatica.

After his injuries, David continued to work in the army until 2000 when his commission was up. He left nursing due to the pain and got a job in sales and marketing for a pharmaceutical company, where he was employed until the summer of August 2015, when he was made redundant. This triggered psychological problems and led to a diagnosis of severe PTSD.

Through his GP, David got involved with Scottish Disability Sport and Scottish Athletics and was invited to represent the British Armed Forces in the US Warrior Games 2015, designed to introduce wounded, injured and sick service members and veterans to Paralympic sport competition.

Participation in the games is funded by the Help for Heroes Sports Recovery Programme.

David took part in shot put, archery and shooting and even won a bronze medal for discus.

Soon after the games, David visited Help for Heroes’ Phoenix House Recovery Centre at Catterick, where he was assigned a support worker.

Through the centre’s Support Hub, David was able to apply for much-needed funds to help adapt the bungalow he recently moved to with wife Hayley and children Callum, 21, Rachel, 18 and Rebecca, 14.

• To find out how Help for Heroes can support you and your family, visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk