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JJ Chalmers, 33, has been showing his softer side lately appearing on this year’s Strictly Come Dancing. The former Royal Marine may be out of his normal comfort level but has been impressing judges and audiences alike with his rhythmic moves. JJ is no stranger to a change in the normal and has spoken of a harrowing time in his life when he was deployed to Afghanistan. Chalmers was on foot patrol in Helmand province when he encountered an explosion which left him in agonising pain. Chalmers suffered a crushed eye socket and a burst ear.
He recalled being in more pain than he had ever experienced before.
“I remember being on my back in more pain than I’ve ever experienced”, he told Scottish radio series Stark Talk.
“I felt like I’d been crushed.
“Both my arms had more or less come off.
“My right arm just wasn’t there at the time; my left hand had lost all of its fingers.
“The next thing I remember is just feeling completely helpless.”
Chalmers was rushed to Camp Bastion where he was put in a coma before being flown back to the UK.
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While he was in the induced coma, medics worked to piece together his elbow and to rebuild the physical structure of his body.
“Most of my torso is missing,” he continued.
“It looks like I’ve been bitten by a shark! But that’s because those nice pieces of fleshy skin now live on my elbow.”
What happened to JJ?
JJ was serving in the Royal Marines Commando in Afghanistan in 2011 when he toured a suspected bomb factory and an IED (improvised explosive device) blew up, shattering his entire body. Recalling the events in an interview with the Metro, he said: “Basically every time you stepped out the front door of one of your checkpoints, you were just surrounded by these deadly indiscriminate weapons.
JJ was serving in the Royal Marines Commando in Afghanistan in 2011 when he toured a suspected bomb factory and an IED (improvised explosive device) blew up, shattering his entire body.
When asked by The Scotsman whether there are any similarities between the military and Strictly, he answered: “The mindset. You have to embrace the culture and everything that comes with that.
“Within the military that gives you resilience and adaptability and those skills transfer to most things in life, but it’s something which is not just a physical but a mental challenge as well and I’m finding this a really big mental challenge.
“It’s a huge adjustment and a lot to think about and I like to think I’m taking it all in my stride just as I would when you throw me into the unknown in the military essentially.”
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