Appeal launched for determined triathlete who lost arm in horror crash - The Rugby Observer

Appeal launched for determined triathlete who lost arm in horror crash

Andy Morris 6th Oct, 2017   0

A DETERMINED athlete from Rugby Triathlon Club who lost an arm when he was dragged under a lorry is being supported by team-mates in his appeal for a new prosthetic.

Barry Purves was riding his motorbike when the nightmare accident happened in 2007. He went under the front of the truck and got caught up on an axle wheel, dragged along the road by his arm which was left pinned to the floor.

The 30-year-old needs to raise £4,000 for a purpose-built and fitted carbon fibre arm which will help him further his enjoyment of the sport.

Barry says he now feels more determined than at any time in his life. (s)

So his team-mates set up a crowd-funding page to help him fulfil his ambitions.

Barry, who works on the NHS’s information and data quality team, told The Observer he had no recollection of the accident.

He said: “The first I knew about it was when my dad told me about the amputation. I calmly responded “ok”.

He decided he had to be positive and get on with his life – “I was a survivor, after all,” he said.

“I had some fairly dark days in hospital. There were days when I thought not surviving would have been better; the support I received from my family and friends quickly dislodged that type of thinking.

“I started to set myself goals and challenges. I felt more determined than at any time I can remember.”

Since then he has taken as many opportunities as possible to maximise life, and got married to his partner Gail.

“She supports me in everything I do,” he said. “There are still days when I get frustrated and feel useless; she is always there to make me see sense.”

He said he is motivated by a desire to push his boundaries – often instigated by people telling him he won’t be able to do something.

“A friend asked if I would be able to complete a triathlon – that was the catalyst for me to prove I could.

“The encouragement I have received from Rugby Triathlon Club has been amazing. My wife is also a member and we compete alongside each other, creating some added rivalry.”

Not content with having competed in a number of sprint distance triathlons and the London Olympic Distance Triathlon, he plans to do a 70.3 mile Distance Triathlon next year and wants to take part in the Ultimate Triathlon – an ‘Ironman’ event comprising a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and a 26.2 mile marathon, which must be completed in under 17 hours.

Barry has already competed in a number of sprint distance triathlons and the London Olympic Distance Triathlon (pictured). (s)

“These events have a level of respect unlike any other,” says Barry. “It will be the ultimate test of my physical and mental capacity, I am both excited and intimidated by it.”

But to compete, he needs the new prosthetic to let him cycle more safely.

“I never feel 100 per cent safe when riding,” he said. “The new design, made by a team who have built devices for a number of top class para athletes, will be tailored to my bike position and will be more comfortable and eliminate skin irritation.”

Barry’s advice to anyone in his situation is to challenge themselves and try to be the best they can be.

He said: “Ask yourself; what have you got to lose? If you don’t try you will never know what you might achieve. I would certainly prefer to have tried and failed, than never to have tried. There are no excuses.”

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