From Army To Invictus
Pa Modou Nije lost both his legs in the Army, but didn’t let that stop him from pursuing this dreams. Here, Samantha Merrett speaks to him about his story
TRIUMPH: Pa Modou Nije at the Invictus Games
PA MODOU Njie, originally from Gambia, joined the Army back in 2008, a decision that would change his life forever.
He served in the Army for four years before he was regrettably medically discharged in 2012. Nevertheless, he went on to complete his A Levels and is currently in the last year of his Accounting degree.
Whilst at college in an I.T lesson he was chatting to his friends on ‘MySpace’, when he saw an Army advert with the slogan ‘Army Be the Best’ and thought why not! He filled out the application form online that very day and started official duties in 2008. He completed tours in the Falklands, Kenya and deployed to Afghanistan in 2010.
It was in Helmand Province during that tour that Pa suffered major life-changing injuries, when he stepped on an IED bomb on patrol. Pa lost both his legs in the explosion and was medically discharged from the Army in 2012, as a result.
Despite the injuries Pa suffered, he says that he has ‘’no regrets’’ and adds that he made friends for life in Afghanistan. The platoon he was part of saved his life and that is something that he will never forget.
ON DUTY: Pa Modou Nije in Afghanistan
Nevertheless, determined and motivated, Pa continued to look for a new challenge and decided to fulfil his aspirations of going to university. In 2014, two years after he was discharged from the Army, Pa achieved fantastic A Level grades with an A* grade in Business Studies and a C in both Accounting and Economics. This enabled him to enrol on an accounting degree and he is now in his last year.
‘’Since joining the Army, it’s been an ambition of mine to go to university, and I am the first of my family to fulfill that dream. Therefore, after being medically discharged from Army, I leapt at the chance to be able to finally achieve my goal.’’
If his bravery and academic achievements weren’t enough, Pa also signed up for the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando. As an active member of the charity Help for Heroes, he trained for the games but unfortunately had to pull out when he found out that the Games coincided with his summer exams.
He did not let this discourage him from applying again and he came back determined to compete in the 2017 games in Toronto. After much hard work, he was accepted as part of the UK team and competed in the Athletics and Sitting Volleyball winning two silver medals.
‘’Being part of Invictus was a truly memorable experience because I was able to spend time with my fellow comrades,” said Pa.
“It really makes you appreciate what you have got in life. I saw guys who were in a similar position to me and I realised that I was not alone and that I should take every opportunity that life throws at me now and in the future.’’
And now he has his sights set on winning Gold at the 2018 Games in Sydney, “I’d sign up in a heartbeat.’’
Pa has great hopes for the future, as he has given the chance of joining a highly prestigious graduate scheme, working for a top accounting firm or continue to build on his academic success by completing his professional Accounting Chartered exams.
Whatever he decides to do, we wish him every success and admire him for showing others that you really can do anything if you put your mind to it!