when sport helps war wounded in post-traumatic shock

The ATHOS house in Toulon accompanies psychologically wounded soldiers to help them rebuild themselves. Sport is one of the pathways to healing. In this context, a challenge is in preparation: crossing the Mediterranean in a kayak with war wounded.

They gave everything for their country, we owe them that“, confided to us Luc de Coligny, the director of the house of Athos, who offers spiritually wounded soldiers personal support.

This former officer also gave everything”out of love for France“. An experience that does not go unscathed: “like a black and white board whose colors we want to describe, what we’ve experienced on the ground, we can’t represent it

Our role is peace through war. Someone has to do it, if not us, who?“, he adds. As head of the Athos house in Toulon, whose name gives hope, he explains to us how the war wounded are helped to get back on their feet in daily life.

Athos is inspired by the famous musketeer of Dumas who got injured but allowed success together with his comrades. This is the desired performance to show these brothers in arms their worth.

In addition to permanent medical support, these war wounded are cared for in this house as if they were at home.

Firm but warm, the ex-soldier confirms”the state owes reparation to these wounded and no one will be left by the side of the road“. For this, the Ministry of the Armed Forces “stops for nothing and has released a large budget

The psychological feeling is very hard to grasp when returning from missions. But it is important to deal with them so that they learn to live with their wounds.

During months of missions, they are under stress. It’s not like the old days where there were truces. Look at this soldier who was killed in Mali, killed on his own base. They are under constant stress“, Explain Luc de Coligny† A stress that needs to be successfully evacuated one day or another.

“I have always been very close to my men and myself, I have faced injuries. What they need is support and guidance,he adds.

According to him, several thousand wounded from Afghanistan have been affected by post-traumatic syndromes (PTS).

There is a real need to feel respected, framed and connected with one’s brothers in armshe notes.

In collaboration with Athos, frigate captain Thomas Ancelin is carrying out an extraordinary project.

The sporting challenge is to cross the Mediterranean Sea with war wounded people in a kayak. The goal is “that he proves to himself that he is able to reintegrate into a group, to reconcile with the institutions by realizing that we are there and that he can count on us“explains the ex-commander of the 36F fleet.

In teams of three pairs of rowers, the participants, all from the war school, will take turns practicing for 45 hours.

In this team, two officers from the Navy, an officer from the Air and Space Forces and two officers from the Land Forces will accompany the war victim by kayak from Hyères to Calvi.

In total there will be about 240 km crossing. The event will take place between June 11 and 25, 2022, subject to weather conditions.

The project “rame solidaire” is organized by the association Mars EDG with the aim of raising funds to help war wounded.

The training takes place in the diving school of the Pôle Ecoles Méditerranée to practice in real conditions. Former Marine commandos guide the participants so that they can use their expertise.

A first RAID has already taken place on Saturday 6 February. It was organized to prepare the teams for different aspects of work on land and at sea.

Endurance, mastering the boat, working face and back in the swell, getting in and out of the support boat…there was a lot of practice to get ready for the big day.

This adventure is supported by a unique sponsor, Denis Brogniart. The Koh-Lanta show host is “very sensitive to this causeexplains Thomas Ancelin,so much so that he wrote a novel about the story of a war wounded

This is not the first challenge launched by Thomas Ancelin. Last year, he traveled by bicycle on the roads of France, from Chamalières to Hyères, accompanied by his brothers-in-arms, including a post-traumatic injury.

He saw the pride in our eyes and we in his, we felt a click, he was at the end of his remission and this element allowed him to regain his confidence.‘ says the frigate captain.

An appointment is made in June for these soldiers, including this war wounded father and kayak enthusiast, to take on this challenge together.