The Wigan Warriors first team squad this week spent time with Army veteran and triple amputee Andy Reid.
Andy was a member of the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment who was struck down by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in October 2009, just ten days before the end of his tour in Afghanistan. He had previously served in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq.
The Army veteran lost both legs and his right arm in the blast and went through weeks of rehabilitation, learning to walk again with prosthetic legs as well as coming to terms with what had happened.
He has since gone on to marry his long-term partner Claire and become a father. Andy describes himself as a survivor, not a victim, and is now a motivational speaker.
The Warriors met up with Andy at the Royal British Legion in Aspull. Taking up the story, Shaun Wane said: “I met Andy a little while back at a Wigan Youth Zone event and was really impacted by the way he spoke. He has a really positive attitude despite everything he has been through and I wanted my players to hear from him.
“I want the best for them on the pitch as a Rugby League player and off it as a human being and I wanted them to listen to Andy’s story and be inspired by it which is why I set this up.”
The Warriors players listened to a 45 minute talk from Andy about his time in the Army and the challenges he has overcome since 2009.
Wigan player Matty Smith said: “I’ve met Andy a few times actually and he’s very inspiring. We’re dodging tackles out on the pitch but the army lads are out there dodging bullets.
“He was a great leader and led by example and worked in a great team. When times were hard he just made things happen and we can all learn a lot from Andy. I’ve bought his book and I’m really looking forward to reading it.”
Speaking after talking to the Wigan players, Andy said: “It’s fantastic to be able to speak to the Wigan team. The Army and Rugby League have a lot in common. You’re out there with your mates and want to look after them. Both also set high standards and no matter what happens you have to meet those standards.
“The lads were great, they were really tuned in to what I had to say and came up with some great questions too.”
To find out more information on Andy visit www.andyreid.org to contact Andy regarding a motivational talk to your team or work colleagues please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the Royal British Legion who spend £1.2m per week looking after former soldiers, visit www.britishlegion.org.uk