“It was awesome,”
Emotional words as a hero soldier described the moment he took his first steps – almost two years after losing both legs in a bomb blast in Afghanistan.
Kingsman Anthony Cooper, 24, from Euxton, spoke to the Guardian from the rehabilitation centre where he continues to receive treatment after the explosion which changed his life in July, 2010.
Anthony, who lost both his legs from the knee down, his right eye, two fingers, and also suffered brain damage, has now tried out his new prosthetic starter legs or “stubbies” for the first time.
In his first interview he told the Guardian “When I first stood up it was awesome.
“I’ve not stood up now for nearly two years.
“I knew I would walk again, but I don’t think anyone else did. Some people said, ‘No, you can’t walk, it’s not going to happen’.
“But I said, ‘Whatever, you’ll see’.”
Anthony had been out on patrol with Anzio Company from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment in Helmand Province when a makeshift bomb exploded and he was left fighting for his life.
If it wasn’t for the brave efforts of his fellow soldiers who came to his rescue, it is feared he may not have survived.
The former Parklands High School pupil was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where he remained in a critical condition for weeks and his family were told he faced a long road to recovery.
Anthony is currently in Headley Court Military Hospital and is due back to his home in Balshaw Lane in the next four weeks.
He said he was determined to continue working hard to make sure he is able to ditch his wheelchair as soon as possible. He said: “You should see my face everytime I walk.
“Legs come in three sizes and they start you off with stubbies, which is what I’m on now. At the moment I’m walking in between parallel bars because I can’t walk on my own just yet.
“Standing up is weird considering I’ve not done it in so long. But then I start and it just feels so natural.”
Kingsman Cooper takes regular trips down to the military hospital and is currently undergoing a rigorous recovery routine which includes occupational therapy, physiotherapy and sessions in the gym.
He said: “It is tiring me out. It’s my first week on complex trauma after being moved off the neurological ward and I’m knackered.
“I’m so determined to carry on, though.
“I’ve decided that I think it’s impossible to break me.
“I told everyone I would do it, and I have.”