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‘It’s like having a Ferrari and not being able to drive it’ – ex-soldier Michael needs pioneering surgery so he can finally use his artificial leg

A FORMER soldier who served in Afghanistan has set up a fundraising page to help pay for pioneering surgery in Australia to help him walk again without crutches.

Thirty-sixyear-old Michael Clough, of Oakworth, Keighley, had his lower left leg amputated after a parachute training accident in Cyprus.

The former corporal in the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire infantry regiment had been selected for the elite Brigade Reconnaissance Force and was on a pre-deployment training exercise in January 2012.

He said: “I had an accident as I came in to land. Because it was open fractures and the bones had come through my skin, I knew it was serious. I couldn’t feel my leg either and that turned out to be nerve damage.”

Although at first it seemed as though his injuries appeared to be healing after he had surgery to pin his leg together with metal plates, he later developed osteomyelitis, a bone infection associated with complex open wounds.

In 2015 – three years and 12 rounds of surgery later – his leg was amputated above the knee due to persistent, severe infection and constant, chronic pain.

Mr Clough was supplied with a high-tech artificial leg by the Army to help him walk again but he is unable to wear it because he suffers from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), causing waves of excruciating pain even at the slightest touch.

As a result, he struggles to wear the artificial socket that sits over his leg stump and clips on to the prosthetic limb.

He says on his JustGiving page: “I had my amputation in August 2015 and now it’s more than two years later and I haven’t been able to wear my high-tech prosthetic leg.

“It’s like having a Ferrari and not being able to drive it. I need this procedure so I can get my life back.

“In Australia, I could benefit from an innovative procedure called osseointegration. This involves implanting a titanium rod in the bone which protrudes through the remaining leg or stump. An adaptor is fitted onto the implant and then attached to the artificial limb.

“There is no need to wear a socket and it ensures a good fit with greater stability and control. I will finally be able use my high-tech leg to walk again.”

Sydney-based prosthetic expert Dr Mumjed Al Muderis has performed the procedure on more than 250 patients, including four with CRPS.

Mr Clough said: “I have always worked since leaving the military in 2014 and as such I will be able to cover the cost of flights.

“I don’t want to have this surgery and sit at home, I have at least 30 years of working life ahead of me and I hope to do amazing things in my work and personal life with the ability to walk freely and be independent.”

To support Mr Clough’s appeal to raise £72,000 to pay for the operation and eehabilitation, visit: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/michael-clough-walk-again

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