Michael Keighley was blown up in Afghanistan on 21 Jul 11, aged 23, when he fell and triggered an improvised explosive device while searching for bombs. He was serving with The Rifles when he found two bombs buried underground. After discovering a third device, he turned to warn his fellow soldiers and tripped over some rubble, setting a bomb off.
Michael had to survive an 11-hour flight from Camp Bastion in Afghanistan, to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where doctors told his family to expect the worst.
He had suffered losing both his legs – the right above the knee and the left below the knee, damage to both arms, his pelvis, a broken jaw, shrapnel wounds to his abdomen and minor brain injury. “Nothing could really sink in,” said Michelle, Michael’s Sister. “We got told by the doctors that Michael was the worst case they had ever seen and every second was critical. I didn’t recognise him with all the tubes, bandages, drips and his stomach open with a pelvis cage. I just couldn’t believe it was my brother.”
After months of critical care, Michael was moved to a recovery unit.
It was a long time before the family could think about bringing Michael home. Initially, the family wished to adapt Michael’s parent’s house to suit his needs, which would be funded by the MOD. As Michael began to go through the recovery process at Headley Court, it was decided it was more sensible to buy a large bungalow in the Peterlee area that could be adapted, which Michaels parents could also live in.
Michael pictured with his parents
HHT assisted with finding the property, liaising with the MOD and dealing with Solicitors on behalf of Michael and his family. They received the keys to their new house in September 2012 and adaptations are planned. Michael is still undergoing periods of rehabilitation but is making remarkable progress.