A PITREAVIE AAC athlete who turned his life around through sport has won two medals at the Invictus Games.

Michael Mellon, a former serving member of the RAF, represented the UK at last month’s event in Toronto, Canada, and returned home with a silver and a bronze medal.

The 37-year-old took his gongs in volleyball and wheelchair basketball respectively and also placed fifth and sixth in his individual sports, the men’s discus and shotput.

Michael joined the armed forces in 1997 but four years later he fractured his tibia and fibula while playing in an RAF rugby match.

That resulted in compartment syndrome, a painful and potentially serious condition caused by bleeding or swelling. It saw him downgraded in his role as a gunner and meant he was unable to deploy overseas. In 2005 he was medically discharged.

Facing the challenge of adapting to civilian life, Michael suffered from depression before, due to ongoing health issues, taking the decision to have his leg amputated almost four years ago.

But he said that having the operation enabled him to return to sport and, after joining Pitreavie, found himself in a position to apply for the Games.

Reflecting on his achievements, he said: “Getting back into sport has made a real difference to my life.

“I’ve gone full circle; my injury was sustained whilst playing sport, now just a few years later, it’s sport that’s helping me get my life back on track.

“The Games have given me a sense of belonging again. The camaraderie and the friendships I’ve made with like-minded people are a very important part of the Games. It’s like being back in the regiment again.

“To come away with not just one but two medals is amazing. I am so proud of my team and it’s also given me a newfound confidence in my own ability.

“I owe so much to the Invictus Games, and to the charities that have helped me get there, like the RAF Benevolent Fund.

“The specialised wheelchair they helped to fund made such a difference and helped me massively during my rehabilitation.”

“I am very thankful to the Fund for their support.”

He added: “What’s next? Well, I want to spend some time with my family and take it all in. Then my next focus will be the 2018 Games!”

Paul Hughesdon, director of welfare and policy at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “We are incredibly proud to see Michael’s successes at this year’s Games and of course winning two medals.

“It is evident to see the rehabilitative nature that sport can offer and it’s so inspiring to see how far Michael has come since being medically discharged from the Royal Air Force.”