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Army October 11, 2012
Getting back up to speed
Rehabilitation programs at the Soldier Recovery Centre -- Brisbane are already in full swing
Cpl Mark Doran
WOUNDED, injured or ill person-
nel attached to the Soldier Recovery
Centre -- Brisbane have already dis-
covered that recovery goes beyond
Soldier Recovery Centres in
Darwin, Townsville and now Brisbane
provide an environment of command,
leadership and management to support
the recovery of soldiers with complex
physical and mental injuries. They
help soldiers reach one of three goals --
return to their original job, transition to
another within Defence or develop the
confidence and skills to find a career in
the civilian world.
Located in the old area gymnasium
at Gallipoli Barracks, the centre has
also created relationships with wel-
fare and support agencies, including
the Department of Veterans' Affairs,
Queensland Returned and Services
League and Young Diggers Australia,
which can provide extra support ser-
vices for the soldiers.
PTI Cpl James Debono was previ-
ously posted to the Recruit Training
Centre and said his new role allowed
him to expand on his previous experi-
"The program has been designed
on a holistic approach to suit the needs
of wounded, injured or ill soldiers," he
"The best thing about the centre is
we have a group of soldiers from differ-
ent units who at first find it difficult to
get to know each other.
"But by the third week the guys are
interacting and sharing their stories.
"This can be fantastic as sometimes
just having a chat to someone can be
very helpful and make you realise there
are people worse off than you or going
through the same issues."
Although the official opening will
not be happening until later in the year,
the centre started assisting 14 Brisbane-
based soldiers with their recovery from
Tpr Michael Cole, of 2/14LHR
(QMI), said he suffered a shoulder inju-
ry during fitness training on his deploy-
ment to Afghanistan, which needed sur-
gery in May.
"I am now recovering my strength
at the soldier recovery centre before
returning to my unit," he said.
"The efforts of the staff here have
been first rate and the PTIs have built a
program designed around my injury.
"It has been an outstanding experi-
ence -- my strength has improved and
I will soon be able to pass my BFA
"In this environment you just need
to have an open mind, the different
activities can involve exercise, relaxa-
tion or lessons, and you are definitely
not just sitting around all day."
Once a month representatives from
all Defence support agencies visit the
centre to provide information for the
members of the garrison.
Young Diggers Australia, a member
of the Veterans' Indemnity and Training
Association and a key partner to the
centre, has donated a Siberian Husky
named Harry as a companion dog to
troops at the centre.
Cpl Debono said Harry was the ideal
companion for soldiers with a mental
"Sometimes a soldier might not feel
up to socialising with others so they can
take Harry for a walk instead," he said.
"Recovery is based on all aspects of
a soldier's health and wellbeing and the
team here complements each other well.
"For instance I have a sports ori-
entated background while Sgt Moya
Steinert's background is more to do
with mobility, cross-fit and nutrition.
"We don't just cover physical and
mental Army orientated lessons -- life
skills such as food preparation and
resume writing are also taught and the
soldiers' partners can be involved in
parts of the program as well."
On the mend: Tpr Michael Cole, of 2/14LHR (QMI), builds his fitness in a PT activity at the Soldier Recovery
Centre -- Brisbane. Inset, PTI Cpl James Debono and centre mascot Harry are both happy to help with soldiers'
Photos by Cpl Mark Doran
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