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Craig Monaghan - Recognition For Resilience

Afghanistan veteran Craig Monaghan has won the 'Overcoming Adversity' award at The Sun Military Awards 2019.

Craig Monaghan was wounded in battle in Afghanistan in 2009.

He was part of the company which suffered the greatest number of casualties in the entire conflict - C Company, 2 Rifles.

The veteran has endured a traumatic brain injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and has lost three quarters of his hearing.

After being medically discharged, attempts to return to 'civvie street' were a struggle for Craig, who tried to take his own life on three occasions.

"From the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep, it's certainly in my head," he says.

"I was in Afghan when it obviously very violent, very horrible place. Not a day went by when something didn't happen."

Craig during his time in Afghanistan (Picture: Craig Monaghan).

Helping him on his road to recovery, however, has been his passion for rugby.

Craig became the first soldier wounded in Afghanistan to represent his country in rugby union, representing England deaf team.

His current role at professional club Sale Sharks sees him helping veterans to bridge the gap between military and civilian life.

"You first meet him, and then you learn about his story and learn all the things he's had to overcome just to get to the point where he can come to work every single day," Executive Director of Sharks Community Trust, Alison Warwood said.

"He's just a real role model for the work that we do out in the community."

Craig speaks to George Simms - one of the veterans he visits at the care home.

Craig said he looks to help people from a wide range of backgrounds and circumstances: "We've had lads who've got very complex mental health needs, and then we've got lads who've been homeless, lads who are just sofa-surfing, lads who are jobless, relationships failed, don't even know where to take the kids to school, stuff like that.

"We've managed to get them into a job, get them into secure housing and actually help them rebuild that relationship with the family."

Craig also takes time to visit veterans in a local care home, and they are always thankful for his company.

"Craig is just one of the boys, he talks to all of the lads and all the lads want to talk to him. I think he deserves everything he gets," veteran George Simms said.

For his efforts, Rifleman Craig Monaghan won the 'Overcoming Adversity' award at The Sun Military Awards.

Watch extended highlights of the Millies on Wednesday 12 February at 18:30 UK time on Forces TV, and at 19:10 UK time on BFBS Extra.