Published: 00:01, 03 April 2017 |
HGV driver Adam Francis was lucky to be alive after an explosion beneath his lorry caused catastrophic injuries while he served as a TA reservist in Afghanistan.
The 39-year-old was put into an induced coma and flown back to Britain before returning home for Christmas just three weeks later.
He said: “I was driving a second vehicle in a four vehicle fire support group and I drove over an IED (improvised explosive device). The Taliban sit and hide and make a connection with it.
“My right leg was amputated by the blast and my left leg was damaged so badly it had to be amputated at Bastion Hospital. I had shrapnel go through tissue in my elbow, I broke my pelvis in five places. I also broke my back and neck and fractured my skull.
“I ruptured every internal organ. I wasn’t meant to be alive.”
Adam, who lives in Lenham Road, Headcorn, with wife Liane, was determined to live the life he had before the explosion.
In the years following the incident on November 19, 2012, the father-of-five joined a motorcycle racing team and booked in a retest for his HGV licence.
He said: “When I did my retest I decided to wear trousers as opposed to shorts which I usually wear. I didn’t tell the examiner why I was there or what happened until after the test.
“He asked me if I had been on the beers and been disqualified. When I told him, he took a step backwards and he was shocked.
“He wouldn’t believe me so I got hold of my trouser bottoms and showed him my prosthetics.”
Adam, a former infantryman of the Mercian Regiment, was rewarded for his recovery and subsequent work by being announced as the winner of the Inspiration Award during the Soldiering On Awards ceremony.
"I ruptured every internal organ. I wasn't meant to be alive" - Adam Francis
Adam has since recorded an inspirational video telling his tale of survival which was recorded at his workplace, XPO Logistics in Aylesford.
Finalists were nominated by members of the public and more than 40 charities and not-for-profit organisations that represent or are associated with the Armed Forces Community.
A civilian HGV driver, Adam was serving with the TA in Afghanistan when his vehicle struck an IED.
When he woke up in intensive care in the UK he set his first goal - to get home to his young family for Christmas, a month away. He managed it.
Adam later returned to his driving job - passing his test without telling his examiner he was a double amputee.
He also returned to riding his beloved motorbike after meeting True Heroes Racing. Now his company also employs him as an inspirational speaker.
He said: “I have stayed positive and cheerful and I have never let it get me down.
“One of the things I was told was that I will never ride a motorcycle again but I have bought a bike and adapted it.
“True Heroes Racing is a team made up of injured service personnel and it helps put them out on the track again.
“We knew there were risks with what we were doing.
“We always had conversations about losing legs or arms and which you couldn’t live without but as long as you can give your kids a cuddle at night then it is all right.”
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