Health

JJ Chalmers health: Strictly star says overcoming his injuries is ‘more about the mind’

JJ Chalmers has accrued more life experience in the space of 33 years than many do in their lifetime. JJ was injured in a bomb blast in Afghanistan in 2011, while serving as a Royal Marine. Despite sustaining life-changing injuries, the star went on to win a gold medal for Britain at the Invictus Games in 2014. His spirit for embracing new adventures has not been extinguished.

JJ is currently competing in the latest series of BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing, alongside his dance partner Amy Dowden.

Despite being an inspirational figure in his own right, JJ has revealed he has already learned a lot from his dancer partner.

Amy, 30, has fought her own health battle since childhood – Crohn’s disease.

Crohn’s disease is a lifelong condition where parts of the digestive system become inflamed.

Opening up on The One Show on Monday, Amy said: “We totally understand each other in so many different ways,” before adding: “The producers walked in the other day and we were talking about where we have our drips put in at the hospital.

“I think we’ve both overcome a lot and [are] quite determined characters to both be where we are on Strictly Come Dancing today.”

JJ added: “It’s far more about the mindset.”

The former marine poignantly spoke about Amy’s achievements, praising her determination and strength.

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He went to say that her story has motivated him to make the most of his life and not be held back by his injuries.

What happened to JJ?

JJ was serving in the Royal Marines Commando in Afghanistan in 2011, when he toured a suspected bomb factory and an IED (Improvised explosive device) blew up, shattering his entire body.

Recalling the events in an interview with the Metro, he said: “Basically every time you stepped out the front door of one of your checkpoints, you were just surrounded by these deadly indiscriminate weapons.

“So we were tasked with trying to clear this compound. ‘Unfortunately, one of my friends stepped on one of these devices, the blast went off underneath his feet, and all the rubbish that gets thrown off of these IEDs are buried in the ground, just came my way and it just pulverised my body.”

He continued: “My arms essentially came off, and they were stuck back on by incredible surgeons in the coming weeks, and months, and years, for that matter.”

JJ revealed how his whole body was pulverised by the blast but the surgeon managed to reconstruct his body.

The former marine took four or five years to adapt to his newly built body and Strictly will test his robustness, he said.

JJ acknowledged that he is still living with the after effects of the blast and he will not be able to tackle every move.

Still, he is determined to throw everything at Strictly and push his body, he said.

JJ previously revealed that his military pal Prince Harry will likely be watching his progress on the show.

He revealed how Harry should ultimately see his involvement in the show as a source of pride in light of founding the Invictus Games.

The Invictus Games is an international adaptive multi-sport event, created by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans take part in nine sports including wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, and indoor rowing.

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