Mike Westwell, seriously injured in the war in Afghanistan, is on the university’s Troops to Teachers PE course and is also a coach for Football 4 Peace (F4P), the university’s groundbreaking and pioneering project that uses sport to build cultural bridges and promote peaceful co-existence in conflict-torn communities around the world.
The 36-year-old former RAF air crew sergeant took gold in the time trial cycling and silver in the road race. He also took part in rowing and a Jaguar Land Rover driver challenge events during the five-day Paralympics-style event, for injured, sick or wounded armed forces personnel, in Orlando, Florida.
He said: “The pinnacle at these games is a gold medal but it's more about using sport as a tool for rehabilitation of both physical and psychological injuries and overcoming these in the face of adversity."
Mike was injured during turbulence in his aircraft cabin, which led to the prolapse of two discs in his neck, causing temporary paralysis in his arm and muscle wastage.
The games, he said, were magical: “It's very important to bottle the memories, emotions and feelings, for those days when we're not feeling at your best and don't see a reason to get out of bed.
“It was an awesome reunion with Prince Harry, and it was an honour to shake the hand of the US First Lady Michelle Obama, listen to actor Morgan Freeman and attend an invisible wounds symposium with President George W Bush.”
Mike, second from the right, is reunited with Prince Harry. Gold medallist Andrew Perrin, is pictured right with cycling coach Andrew Pink left.