“I’ve been in the fire service for 11 years – I’ve known about the Charity all that time,” explains Adam as we discuss his past experiences with The Fire Fighters Charity. “I was playing the lottery even before I left training school! In my mind, though, using the services was something you had to be really sick for, to lose a limb or be at death’s door. Recently a couple of guys in my brigade – one had a bleed on the brain and another a bad back – used the Charity and I heard about their experiences. So, as I’d got to the point where I felt I wasn’t getting any better with my injury, I applied.”
Adam initially received a number of different diagnoses for his back injury. He says: “When I got to Harcombe House, they said ‘don’t worry about whether it’s a torn or bulging disc’. There was a lecture where they showed a graph, showing that 26% of people my age have a bulging disc, and the older you get the more chance you have of having one.
“In my mind, using the services was something you had to be really sick for.”
“Instead, they focused on giving me back a full range of movement, and getting me back to a good place psychologically. They want to build you up slowly and prove you can still do the things you did before. I really enjoyed it – I went in all guns blazing, probably a bit too keen! They told me to take a step back, build up my strength in the first week and then let myself go in the second.”
“I really enjoyed the afternoon walks – romping around in the hills – having thought it would be all gym and pool based. It was also really good to be around people in similar situations. It’s a bit like being on a fire station, really.”
“When I got back home, I carried on the stretches and exercises, and a month later was back doing cycling and Jiu-Jitsu and not worrying about anything! I’ve adapted the programme a bit now and continue to do it alongside everything else I do fitness-wise.”
Adam adds: “Get the idea out of your head that the Charity’s just for really sick people. It’s for anyone with an injury they can’t shake off, or something that’s been niggling at them, whether that’s physical or psychological.”