New Community Liaison Officer for the Invictus Games Foundation
The Invictus Games Foundation has appointed a new Community Liaison Officer, Josh Boggi, to further strengthen the opportunities provided for international wounded injured and sick service personnel to recover together as part of the We Are Invictus online community. Thanks to funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, this two-year contract provides an opportunity for former Invictus Games competitor Josh to use his own experiences to help others.
Read his story below, and find out more about how Josh used sport to turn his life around following injury in Afghanistan.
Josh joined the Royal Engineers in 2004 at the age of 17, which he describes as the best experience of his life:
“It was great, hard and emotional but I do not regret a minute of it.”
He passed the All-Arms Pegasus Company (P Coy) in 2004, was awarded the prestigious Maroon beret and earned his parachute jump wings. He was then posted to 9 Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers in Aldershot in late 2004. In April 2006, Josh was deployed on his first operational tour, Op Herrick 4, in Helmand province, Afghanistan and then again in 2008 & 2010. Throughout his military career, Josh pushed himself to the limits professionally and personally. In 2010, he was accepted to become an instructor at 3 Royal School of Military Engineering (3 RSME) in which he would be teaching new recruits combat engineering. Josh was due to take the posting early 2011.
Unfortunately, on New Years Eve 2010, Josh – in his own words – “went out with a bang!”
Two months into his third tour of Afghanistan, Josh triggered a Pressure Pad Improvised Explosive Device (IED) that resulted in the loss of both his legs and his right arm. The blast also damaged his remaining left hand, his spine and nerves, as well as triggering a pulmonary embolism which Doctors back at Camp Bastion had to fight to control.
“I still remember everything” he says, “I didn’t think it was me at first because I felt no pain and couldn’t see because there was so much dust in my eyes”.
It wasn’t until his colleagues started applying tourniquets that the penny dropped.
“This may sound bad and some may feel sorry for me, but don’t, yes, it changed my life but it changed it for the better”.
Following his injuries, Josh got into cycling to try to keep fit and he put his name forward to take part in the Big Battlefield Bike Ride 2013. Completing this Bike Ride gave him the bug for cycling and he has been doing so ever since. He went on to compete in the Inaugural Invictus Games London 2014 where he won a Bronze medal in the Cycling Time Trial.
Josh then went on to compete in the Invictus Games Orlando 2016. He took home 2 Silver Medals in Cycling and 2 Gold Medals in Rowing.
Josh went on to complete the world’s toughest endurance cycling race, The Race Across America, which saw his team cover 3,081 miles and over 1,800ft of climbing. He also undertook his PADI diving qualifications and is now the world’s first triple amputee rescue diver.
In 2019, however, things took a turn for the worse.
Josh was out in Mallorca with his wife and friends, cycling around the Island. On one descent, Josh’s front tyre blew causing a side-on collision with a truck. Josh snapped his hip and shattered the end of his femur. This resulted in a further 6 inches of amputation to his left stump and after contracting sepsis left Josh fighting for his life. Once back in the UK and under the care of his surgeon he spent 10 weeks in hospital and 18 months later was finally back walking on his long legs.
He has now been fitted with the new X3 prosthetic leg, which is a life changing piece of kit. He can now do a lot more: walking on uneven ground is easier, as is attending football matches, and going on holiday. Josh is now continuing with his life with his wife and son, and a daughter on the way.
Trips to the Zoo and days out at Fratton Park to watch their team, Portsmouth FC Play, are a regular occurrence for the Boggi Family. Josh says he misses being able to play football, this was and always will be a huge passion in his life but since being injured, Josh has achieved some coaching qualifications and now helps manage the local team for whom he used to play.
Josh doesn’t want to be seen any differently to anyone else and enjoys doing normal things with his family.
“I’m still here. I’m still the same person as I was before, I’ve just got a few limbs missing. Yes, I did want to be a soldier but now, I’ll settle for just being me”.