“I should be in a wheelchair but instead, I am starting a new chapter and feel like I can take on the world. Just try to stop me now!”

An Edge Hill University graduate who was left with serious brain damage after a horrific car accident is now hoping he can inspire others to beat their own challenges and change their lives.

Ian Pitts, a former soldier, has just graduated with a degree in Sports Therapy. He is now taking his inspiration from the rehabilitation team who he credits with rebuilding his life.

“I should be in a wheelchair,” says Ian, “but instead, I am starting a new chapter and feel like I can take on the world. Just try to stop me now!”

Ian followed family members into the Army when he was just 16, serving all over the world as an infantry soldier. He had come back from operations and was on leave when he was involved in a car crash, sustaining severe head injuries. After being treated in hospital he was taken to Headley Court, the military rehabilitation centre in Surrey.

“They are the best in the world,” says Ian. “The therapists there worked with me every day and it is because of them that I have come as far as I have. They helped me turn a massive negative into a massive positive. “

Ian, aged 31, was medically discharged from the Army and needed to find a new career. He has always been a fitness fanatic and, after his recovery, worked as a personal trainer, but he wanted more, so decided to go back to the classroom. He achieved his A-levels and then was accepted on to the Sports Therapy course at Edge Hill.

“If you told me when I was a kid that one day I would have a degree I would have laughed at you,” he says. “I was a tearaway at school and all I ever wanted to do was join the Army.

“Edge Hill was amazing, just amazing. Andy Jones was my tutor and because he was ex-military he spoke my language. There are some things I find hard because of my injuries, like remembering certain things, and, once I admitted my weaknesses, the university team set up the facilities I needed to support me.”

Ian is now back in his native South West and is in talks with two rugby clubs about his new career, using the skills and knowledge his degree has given him in nutrition, conditioning and strength training, and helping professional athletes find their maximum potential. But his dream is to one day work like the therapists at Headley Court.

He says: “They brought me back from the dead and now, my dream is to change one person’s life as they have changed mine.”

To find out more about studying this programme, please view full course information for BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy.