Mick Brennan led the presentation with his gripping, emotive, inspirational, account of how he joined and served in the British Military only to suffer from a traumatic bomb explosion in Afghanistan resulting in head injuries, and double high leg amputation. Mick Brennan’s life, would be over, or so he was told. Now, he has become one of the British hopefuls for the Sochi winter Olympics in 2014. The second speaker was the equally inspirational Captain Anna Pole; a dedicated career women, who suffered atrocious leg injuries during her qualifying bobsleigh run. After string of failed operations, she decided to amputate her leg. Now, she is once more where she feels freest, on the slopes as part of the CSDST.
The students also learned from the director of Selex Galileo, Mr Clarige, of the importance of modern day technological to certain athletes with physical disabilities, allowing some who feared to never again be independent to push themselves once more. I came away from the presentations feeling not only more understanding of those who have suffered, but, more importantly, how determination is key to progression from the times of hardship to a better, brighter future. Students have said that the talk has “cast a new light on the people behind the Paralympics teams” (Jo Illingworth) and “have given me a new understanding of the determination which cause people to stick to their goals” (Neena Michalik). I truly believe that everyone can learn from such motivational people. As for me, I will weigh Anna Poole’s advise very heavily in the future: “Take every opportunity and run with it.”