A FORMER soldier who was left with serious brain damage after a horrific car accident is now hoping he can encourage others to change their lives after exceeding his own expectations and graduating from Edge Hill University.
Ian Pitts has just graduated with a degree in Sports Therapy after taking inspiration from the rehabilitation team who he credits with rebuilding his life.
Ian said: “I should be in a wheelchair but instead I am starting a new chapter and feel like I can take on the world. Just try to stop me now.”
Ian followed family members into the Army when he was just 16, where he served all over the world as an infantry soldier.
Ian had come back from operations and was on leave when he was involved in a car crash which left him with severe head injuries. After being treated in hospital he was taken to Headley Court, the world renowned military rehabilitation centre in Surrey.
Ian said: “They are just the best in the world, the therapists there worked with me every day and it is because of them that I have come as far as I have.
“They helped me turn a massive negative into a positive.”
Ian, aged 31, was medically discharged from the Army and needed to find a new career.
He has always been a fitness fanatic and, after his recovery, worked as a personal trainer, but decided he wanted more so decided to go back to the classroom.
He achieved his A-Levels and then was accepted on to the Sports Therapy course at Edge Hill.
Ian continued: “If you told me when I was a kid that one day I would have a degree I would have laughed at you.
“I was a tearaway at school and all I ever wanted to do was join the Army.
“Edge Hill was amazing, just amazing. Andre Jones was my tutor and because he was ex-military he spoke my language.
“There are some things I find hard because of my injuries, like remembering certain things, but, once I admitted my weaknesses, the University team set up the facilities I needed to support me.”
Ian is now back in his native South West and is in talks with two rugby clubs about his new career, using the skills and knowledge his degree has given him in nutrition, conditioning and strength training to help professional athletes achieve their maximum potential.
His ultimate goal however is to work as a therapist at Headley Court.
Ian said: “They brought me back from the dead and now my dream is to change people’s lives for the better as they have changed mine.”