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RAF veteran who lost legs in Afghanistan on wheelchair rugby Paralympic dream

Stuart Robinson is hoping to push Team GB to Paralympic glory, eight years after a Taliban roadside bomb in Afghanistan led to the loss of both his legs

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Key questions answered on 2020 Tokyo Paralympics

A former RAF corporal who lost both his legs after a Taliban roadside bomb explosion is hoping to return from Tokyo with a medal for Team GB this summer.

Stuart Robinson woke from an eight-week medically induced coma at a hospital in Birmingham in 2013, with wires all over his body, his shoulders fractured and both his legs missing.

He had been on an ammunition run in Helmand Province when the military vehicle he was travelling in was blown up by the bomb.

The 39-year-old already had four tours of Iraq under his belt, but this time when he returned he would be heading to an RAF rehabilitation centre in Surrey instead of his home in Morecambe, Lancashire.



Stuart Robinson will be competing as part of Team GB’s wheelchair rugby squad at the Tokyo Paralympics, eight years after losing his legs in an explosion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
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Image:

Oliver Dixon)




That’s where he found the leaflet about wheelchair rugby which has led him to become one of the most exciting stars in the sport since.

Robinson told MailOnline : “Before I deployed to Afghanistan, I’d been sitting at home with my wife watching the wheelchair rugby at London 2012 Paralympics.

“When I was recovering in hospital after the accident, I had a lot of time to myself. I was looking for some answers when I saw that leaflet.”









He is part of the eight-strong Team GB squad in Tokyo, and is hoping to “show my kids they don’t need to worry about me – that I can still do all the normal things any dad can do”.

As Robinson still has good dexterity and strong ball-handling skills despite being confined to a wheelchair, he is what is classed as a ‘high pointer’ – one of those who carries the responsibility of scoring points for the time while some of the others are there to shield him from hits.



Stuart Robinson was on an ammunition run in Helmand when a Taliban bomb exploded, destroying the vehicle he was travelling in and leading to the loss of both his legs.
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Image:

COPYRIGHT, 2009)




He and his teammates almost did not make it here at all after funding for the sport was cut following a fifth-placed finish at Rio 2016, but that decision was later overturned and Team GB will face fellow medal challengers Canada in their Tokyo opener.

Robinson is already a gold medal winner, after being part of the team which won at the 2014 Invictus Games. He wants to taste success again here, but whatever happens he just feels fortunate to have this opportunity.

He said: “I just wanted to play and to begin something new in my life, which would help me to find a way through. I just wanted to stay busy.”



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