If you were watching your twitter feed a few nights back, you might have seen a few of your favourite rugby stars praising someone called Scott Meenagh, who was being honoured at The Sun Military Awards and who had visited the Scotland squad earlier in the year. Scottish Rugby has now added its congratulations to a rugby fanatic who faced adversity with great courage.
So here’s a little bit more about Scott Meenagh.
Private Scott Meenagh was on tour of duty with 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan when his team were hit. As Scott climbed into his sleeping bag after completing night patrol his world changed forever when an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) detonated. Scott went to help his colleagues and the private who had been injured and it was on a final sweep of the area that Scott himself stepped on an IED.
Pte Meenagh lost both his legs at the knees but remained conscious and composed enough to apply life-saving treatment to himself. As colleagues rushed to his aid, a third IED hit the team, killing one of Scott’s friends. The next time Scott opened his eyes, he was back at the military hospital at Selly Oaks in Birmingham.
A life-long rugby fanatic, Scott coached and played rugby around Cumbernauld, attaining his coaching license before joining the Parachute Regiment.
At The Sun Military Awards on Tuesday night (December 20) Scott was presented with the Overcoming Adversity award in recognition of the way he has come to terms with what happened in Afghanistan.
Speaking to scottishrugby.org, Scott said: “I was so shocked to get an award, I genuinely didn’t think I would get anything. I’m pretty speechless to be honest with you.
“It was a really good night, an amazing experience.”
Since being wounded he has taken up ice hockey, archery and sailing and also won medals at the Endurance Games in America for water-skiing. He now intends to cycle three thousand miles across the USA, with the help of ‘Battleback’, an initiative designed to get wounded soldiers back into sport.
Scott explained how he and seven other soldiers will take on that challenge: “There will be eight of us in the team and we’ll be taking on the race in a relay, cycling twenty four hours a day. There is a cut off of nine days to complete the race but we’re aiming to do it in eight.”
Scott also says he will continue to pursue his first passion of rugby. “I still keep up with what’s happening at Cumbernauld Rugby club and I want to get back into rugby coaching. I’ve been following the Warriors and managed to get to a couple of games at Firhill. I’ll be along at Murrayfield too for the game against Edinburgh.
“There’s a great buzz about Scottish Rugby at the moment and I’m very confident for the 6 Nations.”
Colin Thomson, Head of Community Rugby, said: “What Scott has gone through is unimaginable for most of us, but the way he has tackled these new challenges and faced them head on is a testament to an incredibly strong character.
“I’d like to congratulate Scott on the award and wish him well for the challenges he sets himself in the future.”