Corporal Paul Vice was blown up by an improvised explosive device in August 2011 while serving in Afghanistan.
His list of injuries is truly remarkable and he ‘died’ twice during treatment after the left side of his body was “smashed to pieces”.
The father-of-four suffered a broken neck, brain damage, a paralysed right arm, is deaf in one ear and had 400 pieces of shrapnel and stone inside him after the explosion. And after a number of operations, he decided to remove his left leg in October last year which was stopping him from playing with his four children.
Vice was already a respected Marine before the incident, having already received the Military Cross and been on six tours to Afghanistan and Iraq.
The 32-year-old is a personal friend of Exeter Chiefs chief executive and chairman Tony Rowe OBE and has been working with Premiership Rugby’s Hitz programme for three days a week for a month now.
Vice said: “The main reasons I wanted to get involved was to help those on the programme to better themselves even if it is just by few per cent. When I was 16, it was either the Marines or prison because I was a naughty little git so I see a lot of myself in these guys.
“The Hitz programme wasn’t around at that point so I joined the forces, which saved my life in a way – even if it did cost me an arm and a leg. Hopefully between us we can mould these young adults into better guys and girls.”
Hitz is the award winning programme which tackles some of the greatest challenges facing young people today - unemployment, crime and disillusionment – and is delivered nationally by Premiership Rugby and funded by partners Barclays, Comic Relief, Land Rover and Wooden Spoon.
Vice has not let the horrific injuries ruin his life though and plays more sports now than he did before the explosion. He is limited to touch rugby due not having clearance to play with his artificial leg, and swimming, sprinting, football and archery are among the sports he partakes in.
The big rugby fan, who has a season ticket at Sandy Park along with his three sons, also took part in last year’s inaugural Invictus Games and climbed Kilimanjaro in October.
Vice said: “My job now is to tell people my story of overcoming adversity. Just because you have been dealt a bad hand, it doesn’t mean it is the end of you.”
Exeter Chiefs’ Hitz officer Gareth Williams said: “It is incredibly inspiring to have Paul involved with the programme. Firstly he is a genuinely nice and good man but the effort and enthusiasm he has shown so far has been priceless to the project. It has actually inspired all of the staff on the programme to do even more, as well as the kids.
“Everything he has gone through, not only in the military but also during his recovery, is hugely inspiring to everyone and the students on the programme really like him. I even had one student where I said ‘this is Paul’ and he immediately responded with ‘I know who he is’ straight away because he wants to be in the Marines and he was somewhat star struck.”
Member since: 10th July 2012
Hi, I am Dave, I run thebestof Exeter along with my colleagues. If you want to promote your business or event, get in touch with us on 01392 349 130.