Invictus Games gold medalist praises sports programmes facilities at Bucks

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Date: 13th Dec 2018

A former soldier who lost both legs as a result of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in Afghanistan while serving in the British Army and who won two gold medals in handcycling at the Invictus Games this year has praised facilities at Buckinghamshire New University.

Michael Swain MBE was injured in Afghanistan by an IED in 2009 when he was just 19 serving with the 3 Rifles battlegroup. As a result he lost both legs above the knee and sustained extensive polytrauma to both arms.

Since then he has pushed himself to excel at sport, taking up handcycling, and completing, as part of a team, one of the world’s toughest endurance cycling events, the 3,081-mile Race Across America (RAAM), to raise money for the service charity Help For Heroes.
Michael Swain MBE

He visited the University to speak to prospective students getting a closer look at facilities in the Human Performance Lab at an Open Day.

"I have been extremely impressed with the range of facilities at the University," said Michael, who won two golds this year in handcycling at The Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia, for Team UK.

He is currently being provided with strength and conditioning training support by BSc (Hons) Strength and Conditioning Course Leader Jonpaul Nevin.

"I certainly didn’t expect to walk in and seeing a running track here, along with everything else you have," added Michael. "It’s excellent.

“Down the years I have met plenty of people who have completed degrees but this was a great opportunity to speak to people who are looking to study towards a degree and hopefully inspire them.”

Speaking about the types of career path open to students studying Strength and Conditioning, he added: “Strength and conditioning helps me to enhance my performance.

"Working with athletes like myself is one kind of career path students on this degree could enjoy.”

Jonpaul Nevin said: “Having worked with Micheal for many years now I felt he was an ideal role-model to explain to potential students the benefits of strength and conditioning from an elite athlete's perspective.

“Micheal is one of the top handcyclists in the UK at the moment and in the top ten in the world and knows what it takes to win, both in terms of time and effort, as well as support.

“Hopefully, all those who in attendance found his presentation inspiring and now also have a much better understanding of strength and conditioning as a profession and the unique programme we run at Bucks.”

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