'Sport Changed My Life After Leg Amputation', Veteran Says

Michael Mellon suffered a serious injury while playing rugby for the RAF, but has battled back to compete at two Invictus Games.

A man who lost his leg after playing rugby for the RAF believes his passion for sport has helped him recover from the devastating injury.

In 2001, Michael Mellon suffered a compact fracture while playing for the RAF in a match that changed his life forever.

After 12 operations in as many years, Mellon made the decision in 2013 to have his leg amputated.

Since then, he has competed at two Invictus Games and has recently started coaching the Kirkcaldy U14s team.

He said: “I would say that was one of the toughest decisions in my life I have ever had to make. I have been in pain for years and I went to see the consultant up in Dundee on several occasions.

“There are obviously downsides to having your leg taken off, but I was looking at the positives.

“I’m glad I made the decision but it took two years to come to that decision. I had three young kids at the time and I was wheelchair-bound, not being able to wear a prosthetic at the time.

“Thankfully, everything worked out and I’m able to run around. It’s like I never lost my leg, to be honest.”

Michael Mellon was part of the UK team at the Invictus Games.

After his injury, Mellon suffered from depression but has won overall three silver medals and two bronze medals in his Invictus Games tournaments.

He believes the confidence from those experiences helped him mentally. 

He said: “The biggest thing for me was the training camps and meeting up with the lads every weekend.

“The experience of going out to Toronto and Sydney was absolutely awesome. Everything with it from start to finish was super, but I missed the banter when I came out of the military.

“It’s changed my life to be getting back involved with sport.

“I was stuck in the house and not enjoying life at all. I was feeling sorry for myself, basically.”

Mellon is now focused on coaching and has seen some attention from his good work.

He has been nominated for a Soldiering On award after being involved in the Sporting Memories project, which helps people with dementia to reconnect.