Dancing on Ice contestant Johnson Beharry VC has said that appearing on the show has helped him put his life back on track after the traumas of his past.
The Victoria Cross winner, who suffered serious spinal and brain injuries in 2004 while serving with his patrol in Iraq, told The Sun that learning to skate has had a profound effect on his recovery.
“The competition has not only helped me physically but mentally as well,” he said.
“It has allowed me to re-programme my brain and has allowed me to get stronger, which is particularly helping with my spinal injuries.
“The pain will never go away, but the training has really helped strengthen my core muscles, which means my back pain has lessened.”
Johnson added that he is also sleeping better due to being tired out from rehearsals – and that the skating is also helping to strengthen his legs.
“I have real problems with my legs, as the signal from my brain is not there, but I am getting muscle memory and they are remembering what to do more,” he said. “I have more feeling in them now and I am hoping it will come back 100 per cent.
“Even when I am not in the competition any more, I will still go skating as it has helped me so much.”
The 31-year-old is one of five remaining contestants on the show – along with Chloe Madeley, Laura Hamilton, Sam Attwater and Jeff Brazier.
The quintet will compete for a place in the semi-final on Sunday with the series’ annual ‘props’ themed edition – in which the skaters have to incorporate a prop into their routine.