Badly Injured Soldier is David Lloyd Leisure PT Hero of the Year

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After losing both legs in a bomb blast while on patrol in Afghanistan, Anthony Cooper was told by doctors he would never walk again. Just two years later, not only has the courageous soldier defied medical opinion, but he is now set on fulfilling his dream of becoming a Paralympic long distance runner.

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After losing both legs in a bomb blast while on patrol in Afghanistan, Anthony Cooper was told by doctors he would never walk again. Just two years later, not only has the courageous soldier defied medical opinion, but he is now set on fulfilling his dream of becoming a Paralympic long distance runner.

Kingsman Anthony, 25, of Chorley, Lancashire, who has won the coveted title of David Lloyd Leisure’s PT Hero of the Year 2012, says: “Doctors told my family I would never do anything due to the extent of my injuries - I have spent the last 18 months proving them wrong.”

Anthony followed a personal training regime with the support of his personal trainer, Rob Darlington, at the premier sports, health and leisure group’s Chorley club.

Anthony comments: “I joined David Lloyd Chorley in December 2011 to improve diet and fitness and to build my strength in my legs so I could walk again. I met Rob there, and with his guidance I have built up my strength and stamina. Now Rob helps me train using my prosthetic legs to help build muscle.

“I had one childhood wish – to be a soldier. Now with Rob’s help, my dream is to represent my country in the next Paralympics.”

In 2010, while serving with the 1st Battalion of The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, Anthony lost both legs below the knee, his right eye, fingers on his left hand and fingertips on the right, as well as suffering a severe brain injury. He was flown home where he spent several months in hospital and continues to receive specialist rehabilitation.

His amazing recovery beat all medical expectations when just two years later, Anthony learned to walk again: “I knew I would walk again, but I don’t think anyone else did.”
Anthony lives independently next to his parents and works out five times a week at David Lloyd Chorley. “I have always enjoyed being fit. After my injuries, I wanted to keep going to get my fitness back. David Lloyd Chorley has all the equipment, excellent personal trainers and a very good reputation.

“I asked Rob to ‘beast’ me as that is what I miss about the army,” explains Anthony. “I cannot accept pity and Rob shows no mercy which, in my eyes, makes him perfect for me in my recovery. Rob is an excellent coach and I would like to thank him for all the work he does with me.

“My favourite past time was running before I was injured and I miss it a lot. The Paralympics have been amazing and watching the incredible runners race on the track had me on the edge of my seat!”

Anthony, who as PT Hero of the Year 2012, wins a year’s David Lloyd Leisure membership, adds: “It's an amazing feeling to have achieved such an award after all my injuries - who would have guessed it? My family are so proud and supportive of me - I am well chuffed!”

PT Rob, who nominated Anthony, says: “Anthony always gives 100 per cent, is willing to push himself to the limit and loves nothing more than a really tough session. We do various exercises including TRX, boxing, ViPR and Kettlebells. His outstanding ability to push through continues to surpass my expectations as he reaches new heights. With his courage, fight, sense of humour and will to work very hard, I am sure he will achieve his dream.”

David Lloyd Leisure’s head of sports, health and fitness, Rob Beale, said: “We are delighted to announce Anthony as our PT Hero of the Year. He is extraordinary and a very worthy winner, having achieved tremendous results with the dedication and support of Rob. Our competition rewards and recognises the incredible progress that our members achieve and the excellent work that our personal trainers do.”
Ends

Note to editors:
For further information about this press release, contact the David Lloyd Leisure press office on 01707 289833 or email press(at)davidlloyd.co.(dot)uk
More photos of Anthony Cooper are available.

About David Lloyd Leisure Group

The David Lloyd Leisure Group operates 80 clubs in the UK and a further 10 clubs across Europe.
David Lloyd Leisure has over 450,000 members and employs 6,000 people. This includes an expert health and fitness team of over 1,800 and contracts the services of more than 400 tennis professionals.

Across all clubs, David Lloyd Leisure has over 150 swimming pools (of which half are indoor) and offers over 10,000 exercise classes per week. Every week 20,000 children learn to swim at David Lloyd Leisure and 14,000 learn to play tennis.

Its racquets facilities are unparalleled with 700 tennis courts as well as 180 badminton courts and 140 squash courts. Additional facilities include health and beauty spas, club lounges with free internet access, crèches, nurseries and specialist sports shops.

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