JJ Chalmers health: The paralympian Strictly star won’t let his injuries stop him
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John-James Chalmers lost two fingers, and sustained severe injuries on his arms and legs. Resilient, he then hosted the Invictus Games and is now “looking forward to learning something brand new”.
Losing limbs in a bomb blast in Afghanistan 2011, it’s a horror that could scar someone for life.
And it has physically, but mentally, JJ is stronger than ever after his tragic ordeal.
JJ had his eye socket crushed and a bursted eardrum due to the bomb explosion abroad.
But that wasn’t all – the soldier had his elbow completely destroyed, and there were gaping holes in his legs.
The deadly occurrence claimed the lives of two soldiers and left nine others maimed.
In that instance, JJ recognised his life was going to be dramatically different from that movement onwards.
Speaking to Stark Talk, JJ recalled the devastating experience: “I remember being on my back in more pain than I’ve ever experienced.
“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.” From there, JJ was rushed off Camp Bastion where he was put into an induced coma.
Medics attended to his injuries, where JJ underwent “at least 30 operations and an enduring rehabilitation process”.
The process was tough, but JJ made sure he put all his might into making his life a good one.
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Fast-forward five years, and the military man had taken his life in a completely new direction.
Hosting the Invictus Games – an international adaptive multi-sport event – JJ fell in love with TV presenting.
“The athletes I’ve had the opportunity to interview over the years are unbelievable,” he said.
“Watching the London 2012 Paralympics made me proud to be disabled. My recovery has shown me the world is full of truly awesome people.”
JJ continued to talk about his newfound passion: “It’s my dream and ambition to have the opportunity to tell their stories.”
Making TV appearances over the years, it was on the ITV show Lorraine where JJ recently announced he will be on this year’s Strictly.
“I’m look forward to learning something brand new,” he told Lorraine. “I’m always looking for a challenge.
“I’m always looking to push myself outside my comfort zone,” he continued, adding that Strictly would be “completely off the chart”.
Married to Kornelia Chitursko, and father to their eight-year-old daughter Hayley, JJ will be doing his best to make them proud.
“You’ve got to give it everything,” he told Lorraine. “I’m going to immerse myself into the process.”
JJ is even going to embrace the ballroom shoes and glitzy outfits – the things Strictly is famed for.
You can catch Strictly Come Dancing on BBC One, Saturday October 17, at 7.50pm.
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