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A British Soldier’s Rehabilitation

July 31, 2010

This is a truly inspirational story.

In the few seconds it took for the numbness he felt after the explosion to turn to pain, Private Derek Derenalagi knew he had lost his legs. He thought he was going to die.

He briefly did die, he later learned, on the operating table at Camp Bastion, and again when his heart stopped beating on the operating table at Selly Oak.

In the hours after the blast that threw him from his Land Rover and sent him 30ft in the air, broke his back and blew off his legs, his heart stopped three times, medics began preparations to zip him into a body bag.

“The last time my heart stopped I was pronounced dead,” said Derenalangi, 35. But medical staff detected a faint pulse and he was resuscitated. He was flown to Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, and spent eight days in a coma.

Just two weeks on, Derenalagi was demanding to use the gym.

“I told people: One day, I will walk,” he said.

Now, three years after his injury, in Helmand province, he has already broken records in shot put and aims to be on the podium at London 2012.

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