davie birrell - double below knee amputee
Losing both his legs hasn’t stopped David from achieving his dream. He is now climbing the ranks in the motorsport world.
David, 31, from Perth, Scotland, joined the army when he was just 16 and served the country for 12 years.
David was on patrol in Afghanistan when he stepped on an IED. The incident caused life changing injuries. He said, “We were out clearing an area when I volunteered to go ahead with my interpreter. He stepped on an IED and unfortunately lost his life.
“The medic came over and put me on a stretcher, I didn’t know the extent of my injuries at this point. I was terrified.”
David was so severely injured that he had to get his left leg amputated. During his recovery process, David’s right leg did not heal and unfortunately, a year after the accident, he lost his right leg. David was a double amputee.
David received rehabilitation support at Headley Court but during his time there he found dealing with his injuries and getting to grips with his prosthetic legs very difficult. David said, “It really affected me. I was having flashbacks of the incident and I believed that I wouldn’t be able to drive cars anymore, something I really loved doing.”
David had always been a car enthusiast and he’d always wanted to race. Following his injuries, he thought he wouldn’t be able to get behind the wheel of a race car, but he then found and joined a charitable karting team dedicated to injured army veterans – KartForce.
His passion for karting and motorsport quickly grew into a hobby that he wanted to pursue as a career. David entered Ginetta’s Want2Race competition where he finished 8th out of 300 able-bodied drivers. David later raced in the Scottish Compact Cup Championship and The Mx5 Championship. He is now racing for Woodard Racing Organisation (WRO) in the BritCar Championship and doing extremely well.
David added, “I don’t want to be treated as a disabled person, motorsport doesn’t differentiate us from able-bodied drivers. I am where I am because of my talent and hard work.”
David hopes to be the first double amputee racing driver to compete at Le Mans but with no modifications to the car.
His words to other disabled aspiring racing drivers are, “Don’t be afraid to follow your ambitions, you can achieve what you set your mind to and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise - I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t set goals and worked hard to achieve them.”
Follow David’s journey by liking his Facebook page - David Birrell Racing or following his Twitter - @BirrellRacing and Instagram page - @David_Birrell_86.